Commodities Drop to Lowest in Three Weeks as Fed Debates Easing

Commodities slumped to the lowest level in more than three weeks as Federal Reserve minutes showed policy makers advocated more flexibility in U.S. policy to stimulate the economy.

The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Index of 24 raw materials fell 0.6 percent to 664.04 at 2:27 p.m. Singapore time, the lowest level since Jan. 28. The gauge declined for a fourth day, the worst run since December.

Several policy makers said the central bank should be ready to vary the pace of their $85 billion in monthly bond purchases amid a debate over the risks and benefits of further easing, minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee’s Jan. 29-30 meeting showed. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao urged local authorities to “decisively” curb real estate speculation. The country is the world’s biggest user of energy and metals.

“The Fed minutes and concerns over China’s property sector hurt market sentiment, weighing on China’s stock market and commodities,” said Peng Guoliang, an analyst at Dadi Futures Co. Asian stocks tumbled from an 18-month high, falling 1.6 percent for the first decline in four days.

Crude oil fell 0.8 percent to $94.42 a barrel, copper declined 0.6 percent to $7,910 a metric ton and soybeans lost 0.7 percent to $14.58 a bushel.

To contact the reporter on this story: James Poole in Singapore at jpoole4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Poole at jpoole4@bloomberg.net

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