Oil Drops on Economy Fears; Copper Falls: Commodities at Close

The Standard & Poor’s GSCI gauge of 24 commodities fell 2.5 percent to 635.50 at 5:32 p.m. Singapore time. The UBS Bloomberg CMCI index of 26 raw materials slid 2 percent to 1541.466.

CRUDE OIL

Oil dropped to the lowest level in four days in New York, falling below $89 a barrel amid speculation that global fuel demand will falter as China’s economy slows and Europe struggles to control its debt crisis.

Crude for September delivery fell as much as $3.43 to $88.40 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $88.47 at 9:33 a.m. London time. The contract decreased 1.2 percent to $91.83 on July 20. Prices are 10.4 percent lower this year.

Brent oil for September settlement on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange dropped as much as $3.88, or 3.6 percent, to $102.95 a barrel. The European benchmark crude was

NATURAL GAS

Natural-gas futures were little changed at $3.078 in New York for a second day after forecasts for hotter-than-normal weather that may erode a surplus of the power-plant fuel.

Gas for August delivery fell as much as 1.5 cents to $3.078 per million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile

OIL PRODUCTS

The premium of gasoil to Dubai crude rose 10 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $18.27 a barrel at 10:14 a.m. Singapore time, according to data from PVM Oil Associates Ltd., a broker. The spread is the widest since Feb. 8.

Singapore gasoil swaps for August dropped 20 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $120.95 a barrel.

Japan naphtha’s premium to London-traded Brent crude futures rose $8.17, or 11 percent, to $79.81 a ton, according to Bloomberg calculations based on PVM data. This spread is the widest since May 17.

Naphtha swaps for August fell $2, or 0.2 percent, to $874.50 a ton, PVM data showed.

Fuel oil’s discount to Dubai crude narrowed 30 cents to $1.73 a barrel at 2:01 p.m. Singapore time, according to PVM.

PRECIOUS METALS

Gold declined in London as concern that Europe’s debt crisis is deepening boosted the dollar and curbed demand for the metal as an alternative investment.

Bullion for immediate delivery fell 1 percent to $1,569.05 an ounce by 9:24 a.m. in London. Prices are up 0.3 percent this year. August-delivery futures were 0.9 percent lower at $1,568.40 on the Comex in New York.

Silver for immediate delivery dropped 1.6 percent to $26.88

BASE METALS

Copper fell for a second day in London, extending last week’s drop, as increasing concern that Greece may leave the euro zone bolstered the dollar.

Copper for three-month delivery dropped 2.2 percent to $7,378 a metric ton by 9:39 a.m. on the London Metal Exchange.

GRAINS, OILSEEDS, SOFT COMMODITIES

December-delivery corn advanced 0.5 percent to $8 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade, beating the previous high of $7.9925 set in 2008, before dropping 0.7 percent to $7.905 at 2:57 p.m. in Singapore. Soybeans peaked at $16.915 a bushel, beating a high set last week, before dropping to $16.6675.

Soybeans for November delivery rose as much as 0.3 percent to $16.915 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade, a record for the most-active contract, before retreating 1.2 percent to $16.665. December-delivery soybean oil declined 1.4 percent to 54.42 cents per pound. Palm oil and soybean oil are used in food and fuels.

Wheat for September delivery dropped 1.5 percent to $9.2925 a bushel, after climbing to $9.4725, the highest price for a most-active contract since August 2008. Soybean meal for December delivery advanced as much as 1.1 percent to $509.80 per 2,000 pounds in Chicago, an all-time high for the most-active contract, before declining 0.9 percent to $499.90.

Palm oil fell to the lowest level in a month on concern that demand for commodities will decline as Europe struggles to contain its debt crisis and economic growth slows in China, the top cooking-oil user.

October-delivery palm oil lost as much as 2.2 percent to 2,976 ringgit ($938) a metric ton on the Malaysia Derivatives Exchange, the lowest price for the most-active contract since June 22. Futures traded at 2,984 ringgit at 4:25 p.m. in Kuala Lumpur, after falling 0.8 percent last week.

Rubber declined the most in eight months after a central bank adviser in China, the biggest consumer, forecast slower economic growth and on concern that Europe’s debt crisis may worsen.

December-delivery rubber lost 5.5 percent at close, the most for the most-active contract since Nov. 10, to settle at

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