Oil plunged the most this year on concern that Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis is deepening and as a Chinese central-bank adviser said the country’s economic expansion may slow further.
Crude oil for September delivery fell $3.69, or 4 percent, to $88.14 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was the biggest decrease for a front-month contract since Dec. 14.
Brent oil for September settlement declined $3.57, or 3.3 percent, to $103.26 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.
Gasoline slid on concern that Europe’s debt crisis is deepening and China’s economic growth is slowing, threatening global demand for fuel.
August-delivery gasoline declined 6.01 cents, or 2 percent, to settle at $2.8829 a gallon on the Nymex. The more actively traded September contract sank 2.8 percent to $2.7638.
August-delivery heating oil slid 10.54 cents, or 3.6 percent, to $2.8189 a gallon. It was the largest decline since Aug. 8, when futures dropped 4.8 percent after Standard & Poor’s downgraded U.S. debt. The more actively traded September contract fell 3.5 percent to $2.8206.
Natural-gas futures rose for a fourth day in New York to a seven-month high on forecasts for hotter-than-normal weather that may boost demand for the fuel from power plants.
Gas for August delivery climbed 3.6 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $3.117 per million British thermal units on the Nymex, the highest settlement price since Dec. 22. Gas is up 4.3 percent this year.
Gold futures fell to the lowest price in more than a week as concern that Europe’s debt crisis is deepening boosted the dollar and curbed demand for the metal as an alternative investment.
Gold futures for August delivery fell 0.3 percent to settle at $1,577.40 an ounce on the Comex in New York, after touching $1,562, the lowest price for a most-active contract since July 12. The price slid 0.6 percent last week and is down 1.7 percent this month.
Silver futures for September delivery dropped 1 percent to $27.042 an ounce in New York, the biggest fall since July 10.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, platinum futures for October delivery fell 1.1 percent to $1,398.90 an ounce. Palladium futures for September delivery declined 0.9 percent to $570.95 an ounce.
Copper futures fell to a three-week low as Europe’s deepening debt crisis diminished prospects for metals demand.
Copper futures for September delivery declined 2 percent to settle at $3.38 a pound on the Comex in New York. Earlier, the metal slipped to $3.342, the lowest price for a most-active contract since June 29.
On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months slid 1.9 percent to $7,401 a metric ton ($3.36 a pound).
Aluminum, zinc, lead, tin and nickel also dropped in London.
Hog futures dropped on signs of increasing supplies and sagging demand. Cattle prices rose.
Warehouses held 591.7 million pounds (268,384 metric tons) of pork as of June 30, up 20 percent from a year earlier, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a report released after the close of regular trading on July 20. Output of the meat in the six months through June 30 rose 2.6 percent from the same period in 2011, USDA data show.
Hog futures for October settlement fell 1.2 percent to settle at 78.85 cents a pound on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Prices are down 6.5 percent this year.
Cattle futures for October delivery climbed 0.3 percent to close at $1.235 a pound in Chicago. The commodity has gained 1.7 percent this year.
Feeder-cattle futures for August settlement fell 0.3 percent to $1.3565 a pound.
Sugar fell from a 16-week high on concern that the crisis in Europe will crimp demand for commodities, including the sweetener. Coffee, cotton and orange juice also declined, while cocoa gained.
Raw sugar for October delivery fell 0.1 percent to settle at 23.89 cents a pound on ICE Futures U.S. in New York, after reaching 24 cents, the highest level since March 29.
Also on ICE, arabica coffee futures for September delivery dropped 1 percent at $1.851 a pound, while cotton futures for December delivery fell 1 percent to 72.19 cents a pound.
Orange-juice futures for September delivery slid 0.6 percent to $1.094 a pound in New York. Prices have dropped for 10 straight sessions.
Cocoa futures for September delivery climbed 0.4 percent to $2,238 a metric ton on ICE.
Corn and soybean futures tumbled from records on speculation that Europe’s crisis may curb demand after prices surged amid the worst U.S. drought in 56 years. Wheat also slumped.
Corn futures for December delivery fell 1.3 percent to settle at $7.855 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade. The price has gained 24 percent this month.
Soybean futures for November delivery plunged 64 cents, or 3.8 percent, to $16.2225 a bushel, the biggest drop for a most- active contract since Sept. 30. Last week, the oilseed jumped 8.6 percent, the most since October.
Wheat futures for September delivery fell 3.2 percent to $9.1275 a bushel. The price climbed in the previous eight sessions, the longest rally this year.
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