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Commodities Tumble on Speculation Hedge Fund Selling Positions

Feb. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Commodities fell, capping the biggest loss in more than two months, as metals and energy tumbled amid speculation that a hedge fund was selling.

The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index of 24 raw materials declined 1.1 percent to settle at 668.28 at 3:49 p.m. New York time, the largest drop since Dec. 6. Silver futures led the losses, retreating as much as 4 percent. Crude oil fell the most since November, and gold slumped to $1,558.10 an ounce, the lowest since July.

“You have a sort of mini perfect storm hitting commodities today,” Dave Lutz, the head of exchange-traded fund trading and strategy at Stifel Nicolaus & Co. in Baltimore, said in a telephone interview. “There’s market chatter that a fund is blowing up, gold has fallen below $1,600, and oil storage tanks in Cushing are near all-time records.” Cushing, Oklahoma, is the delivery point for New York oil futures and the main U.S. stockpile site.

West Texas Intermediate oil for March delivery, which expires today, decreased 2.3 percent to settle at $94.46 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. U.S. supplies probably rose 2 million barrels through Feb. 15 as domestic production increased, according to a Bloomberg survey before a government report tomorrow.

Gold futures for April delivery slipped 1.6 percent to close at $1,578 an ounce on the Comex in New York. The price dropped for the fifth straight session, the longest slump since December 2011.

Trading volumes for silver, platinum and palladium were more than double the average in the past 100 days for this time of day.

To contact the reporters on this story: Yi Tian in New York at ytian8@bloomberg.net; Joe Richter in New York at jrichter1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at sstroth@bloomberg.net

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