The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index of 24 raw materials fell 2.3 percent to settle at 608.83, led by precious metals. The broad measure fell the most since Nov. 7 and to the lowest point since July 10.
The UBS Bloomberg CMCI gauge of 26 prices dropped 2.3 percent to 1,457.624.
Gold plunged the most in 33 years amid record-high trading as an unexpected slowdown in China’s economic expansion sparked a commodity selloff from investors concerned that more cash will be needed to cover positions.
China’s economy in the first quarter grew less than forecast by economists, government data showed. The minimum amount of cash for borrowing from brokers to trade gold futures on the Comex may increase after prices plummeted 13 percent, or more than $200 an ounce, in two sessions. Silver, platinum and palladium slumped.
Gold futures for June delivery slumped 9.3 percent to close at $1,361.10 on the Comex in New York, the biggest drop for a most-active contract since March 17, 1980. After the settlement, the price touched $1,348.50, a two-year low. Estimated trading on all contracts was 684,502 contracts at 4:10 p.m., topping the previous record of 486,315 on Nov 28.
Silver futures for May delivery plunged 11 percent to $23.361 an ounce on the Comex, the biggest drop since Sept. 23, 2011. After the settlement, the price touched $22.73, the lowest since Oct. 8, 2010.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, platinum futures for July delivery retreated 4.8 percent to $1,424.80 an ounce. Palladium futures for June delivery slumped 5.9 percent to $667 an ounce, the biggest drop since Dec. 14, 2011.
Copper fell to a 17-month low after economic growth was weaker than expected in China, the top global consumer of industrial metals.
Copper futures for delivery in May tumbled 2.3 percent to settle at $3.273 a pound on the Comex in New York, after reaching $3.1935.
In London, copper for delivery in three months declined 2.8 percent to $7,202 a ton ($3.27 a pound).
Lead, nickel and zinc also closed lower. Tin retreated, dropping below its 200-day moving average. Aluminum rallied.
West Texas Intermediate crude fell to the lowest level this year as China’s economic growth unexpectedly eased.
WTI for May delivery dropped $2.58, or 2.8 percent, to $88.71 a barrel on the Nymex, the lowest settlement since Dec. 24. The volume of all futures traded was 66 percent above the 100-day average at 4:28 p.m.
Brent for May, which expired today, fell $2.72, or 2.6 percent, to $100.39 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange, the lowest front-month settlement since July 11. Volume was 27 percent above the 100-day average. The more actively traded June contract slid $2.41 to $100.63 and touched $99.95 in intraday trading.
Gasoline strengthened versus crude oil as power failures over the weekend in Port Arthur, Texas, caused refinery units to shut.
Gasoline for May delivery fell 4.42 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $2.7576 a gallon on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest settlement since Jan. 16. Futures are down 11 percent this month and 1.9 percent in 2013.
May gasoline’s discount to the June contract narrowed 0.52 cent to 0.31 cent a gallon, its strongest performance since April 9.
Gasoline at the pump, averaged nationwide, fell 0.6 cent to $3.526 a gallon, AAA said today on its website. Prices have fallen 26 cents from the year-to-date high of $3.786 on Feb. 26 and are 38.1 cents below a year ago.
Ultra-low-sulfur diesel for May delivery declined 4.26 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $2.8292 a gallon, the lowest settlement since July 24.
Natural gas futures fell by the most in two months in New York as forecasts called for above-normal temperatures in the U.S. Northeast.
Natural gas for May delivery slid 8.5 cents to settle at $4.137 per million British thermal units on the Nymex. It was the largest drop since Feb. 14. Gas rose to a 20-month high of $4.29 in intraday trading.
Orange-juice futures surged to a one-year high on speculation that an active hurricane season will threaten crops in Florida, the world’s second-biggest citrus grower. Cotton, coffee, sugar and cocoa slid.
Orange juice for May delivery climbed 3.5 percent to settle at $1.491 a pound on ICE in New York. Earlier, the price rose by the exchange limit of 10 cents to $1.54, the highest level for a most-active contract since April 9, 2012.
Cotton futures for July delivery dropped 1.7 percent to 86.12 cents a pound on ICE.
Arabica-coffee futures for July delivery slipped 0.8 percent to $1.361 a pound in New York. Earlier, the price touched $1.3355, the lowest since March 22.
Raw-sugar futures for July delivery declined 1.6 percent to 17.55 cents a pound.
Cocoa futures for delivery in July retreated less than 0.1 percent to $2,267 a metric ton.
Soybean and corn futures closed at the lowest prices since June on speculation that Chinese demand will ebb because of slowing economic growth, while an outbreak of avian flu erodes demand for livestock feed. Wheat dropped.
Soybean futures for July delivery declined 1.7 percent to close at $13.56 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade, the lowest settlement for a most-active contract since June 18.
Corn futures for July delivery dropped 2.1 percent to $6.28 a bushel, the lowest settlement since June 26.
Wheat futures for July delivery slid 2.8 percent to $6.9925 a bushel, the biggest drop since April 1.
Cattle futures fell to the lowest in nine months on signs of weak U.S. beef demand amid cold weather and slow exports. Hog prices also dropped.
Cattle futures for June delivery retreated 0.8 percent to settle at $1.19825 a pound on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, after touching $1.19375, the lowest level for the most-active contract since July 12. The price has declined 9.4 percent this year.
Hog futures for June fell 1.4 percent to close at 88.6 cents a pound on the CME, the biggest drop since April 5.
Feeder-cattle futures for May settlement slumped 0.8 percent to $1.398 a pound.
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