May 31 (Bloomberg) -- The Standard & Poor’s GSCI gauge of 24 commodities fell 1.2 percent to 596.2 at 3:53 p.m. New York time. The UBS Bloomberg CMCI index of 26 raw materials decreased 0.7 percent to 1,438.5646.
Oil capped the biggest monthly drop in more than three years on speculation that slowing U.S. growth and Europe’s debt crisis will reduce fuel demand.
Crude for July delivery declined $1.29, or 1.5 percent, to $86.53 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest settlement since Oct. 20. Futures tumbled 17 percent this month, the biggest decrease since December 2008, and are down 12 percent this year.
Brent oil for July settlement fell $1.60, or 1.5 percent, to end the session at $101.87 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. It was the lowest settlement since Oct. 4. Prices dropped 15 percent this month, the most since December 2008.
Gasoline slid to a four-month low, capping the largest monthly loss since September, as jobless claims rose and the U.S. economy grew more slowly in the first quarter than previously estimated.
Gasoline for June delivery fell 3.32 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $2.825 a gallon on the Nymex, the lowest settlement since Jan. 24. Futures dropped 11 percent in May, trimming the year’s gain to 5.2 percent.
June gasoline and heating oil contracts expired at the close of floor trading today. The more actively traded July contract fell 5.12 cents, or 1.9 percent, to $2.7227 a gallon.
June-delivery heating oil fell 3.36 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $2.7062 a gallon, the lowest settlement in 15 months. Prices tumbled 15 percent in May. The more actively traded July contract declined 4.06 cents to $2.7032.
Natural gas futures rose in New York, capping a second monthly gain, after a government report showed that U.S. stockpiles climbed by less than the five-year average last week.
Natural gas for July delivery rose 0.4 cent to settle at $2.422 per million British thermal units on the Nymex after rising as high as $2.508. The futures gained 6 percent this month and have climbed 27 percent after reaching a 10-year intraday low of $1.902 on April 19.
The stockpile surplus to the five-year average narrowed for an eighth week, falling to 35 percent from 38 percent a week earlier. Supplies were 35 percent above year-earlier levels, compared with 38 percent in last week’s report.
Gold futures fell in New York, capping the longest monthly slump since 2000, as Europe’s worsening debt crisis and signs of a U.S. economic slowdown crimped demand for the precious metal.
Gold futures for August delivery retreated 0.1 percent to settle at $1,564.20 an ounce on the Comex in New York. The precious metal retreated 6 percent this month, the biggest drop this year.
Silver futures for July delivery fell 0.8 percent to $27.757 an ounce on the Comex, extending the month’s loss to 11 percent. The metal’s third monthly loss is the longest slump since 2008.
On the Nymex, platinum futures for July delivery jumped 1.2 percent to $1,417.60 an ounce, helping narrow the month’s loss to 9.8 percent. Palladium futures for September delivery rose 1.2 percent to $613.90 an ounce. Still, prices fell 10 percent in May, the biggest monthly drop since September.
Copper futures fell, capping the biggest monthly slump since September, as signs of slowing in the U.S. economy added to concerns that Europe’s debt crisis will damp raw-material demand.
Copper futures for July delivery slid 0.7 percent to settle at $3.3655 a pound on the Comex in New York, after touching $3.3415, the lowest level for a most-active contract since Dec. 29.
Aluminum, zinc, lead, nickel and tin also fell in London.
Corn and soybeans fell, capping the biggest monthly decline since September, as rain and cool weather in some U.S. growing areas boosts prospects for recently planted crops.
Corn futures for July delivery slumped 0.8 percent to settle at $5.5525 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade. The price is down 14 percent in 2012 after falling 12 percent in May.
Soybean futures for July delivery slid 2.4 percent to settle at $13.40 a bushel in Chicago, the biggest drop for a most-active contract since May 11. The price fell 11 percent this month, cutting this year’s gain to 11 percent.
Wheat futures for July delivery slid 1.5 percent to settle at $6.4375 a bushel on the CBOT. Earlier, the price touched $6.425, the lowest level for a most-active contract since May 17.
Coffee futures fell, capping the longest monthly slide in 31 years, as global supply outpaces demand, while slowing economies erode consumption prospects. Sugar also dropped. Cotton, cocoa and orange juice rose.
Arabica coffee for July delivery dropped 2.3 percent to settle at $1.6065 a pound on ICE Futures U.S., after touching $1.6015, the lowest level for a most-active contract since July 22, 2010.
Raw-sugar futures for July delivery slid 0.3 percent to 19.42 cents a pound in New York, posting a monthly decline of 8 percent, the third in a row.
Cotton futures for July delivery rose 0.9 percent to 71.55 cents a pound on ICE, reducing its monthly slide to 20 percent, the biggest since April last year.
Orange-juice futures for July delivery advanced 1.1 percent to $1.1205 a pound. Still, the beverage plummeted 21 percent in May, the biggest decline since February 1999.
In London futures trading, robusta coffee also slid on NYSE Liffe. Refined sugar and cocoa increased.
Hog futures surged the most in 16 months on signs of increasing demand for U.S. pork. Cattle prices also rose.
Hog futures for July settlement rose by the exchange limit of 3 cents, or 3.4 percent, to settle at 91 cents a pound on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the highest level for a most-active contract since April 13. The gain was the largest since Jan. 26, 2011.
Cattle futures for August delivery advanced 0.8 percent to $1.189 a pound in Chicago. In May, the commodity climbed 4.2 percent, the most since January.
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