Gold Extends Bear-Market Drop Below $1,400: Commodities at Close

The Standard & Poor’s GSCI gauge of 24 commodities declined 2.3 percent to 609.01 by 5 p.m. in London. The UBS Bloomberg CMCI index of 26 raw materials fell 2 percent to 1,462.451.


Gold tumbled below $1,400 an ounce, falling the most since 1980, after dropping into a bear market last week as optimism that a U.S. recovery will curb the need for stimulus cut demand for a protection of wealth. Silver, platinum and palladium tumbled.

Gold futures for June delivery slumped 9 percent to $1,366.90 an ounce on the Comex in New York, heading for the biggest drop since March 17, 1980. Prices touched $1,356.60, the lowest since February 2011.

Silver futures for May delivery plunged 12 percent to $23.15 an ounce in New York. Earlier, it dropped to $22.92, the lowest since Oct. 22, 2010.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, palladium futures for June delivery slumped 6.3 percent to $664.35 an ounce. Platinum futures for July delivery retreated 4.9 percent to $1,422.60 an ounce, after falling to $1,419, the lowest since Aug. 16.

Precious metal markets: NI PCMKTS


Natural gas futures rose for a fourth day in New York as forecasts predicted below-normal temperatures across the Midwest.

Natural gas for May delivery gained 2.2 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $4.244 per million British thermal units at 9:32 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

U.K. natural gas: NI NUKMKT Gas market: NI GASMARKET Americas natural gas: NI AGASMARKET European natural gas: NI EGASMARKET


West Texas Intermediate crude fell to the lowest level this year as China’s economic growth unexpectedly lost momentum, raising concern that demand from the world’s second-biggest oil-consuming country will slow.

WTI for May delivery decreased $3.33, or 3.7 percent, to $87.96 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange after falling to $87.86, the lowest intraday level since Dec. 19.

Brent for May settlement, which expires today, fell $2.58, or 2.5 percent, to $100.53 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange after dropping to $100.41 a barrel, the least since July. The more actively traded June contract slid $2.35, or 2.3 percent, to $100.69.

Oil markets: NI OILMARKET


Orange-juice futures for May delivery surged 4.3 percent to $1.502 a pound on ICE Futures U.S. in New York, heading for the biggest gain since April 5.

Raw sugar for July delivery fell 0.6 percent to 17.73 cents a pound on ICE Futures U.S. in New York.

Arabica coffee for delivery in July fell 1.5 percent to $1.3515 a pound on ICE.

Cocoa for July delivery declined 0.2 percent to $2,263 a ton in New York.

Soft commodities markets: NI SOMKTS


Copper reached a 17-month low in New York as commodities plunged after economic growth was weaker than estimated in China, the world’s biggest consumer of raw materials.

Copper for delivery in May slid 2.8 percent to $3.2565 a pound on the Comex in New York. Prices reached $3.1935, the lowest since Oct. 21, 2011. Copper for three-month delivery lost 2.6 percent to $7,215 a metric ton on the LME and aluminum touched $1,818 a ton, the lowest since Oct. 7, 2009.

Tin for delivery in three months fell 4.3 percent to $21,050 a ton on the LME after tumbling as much as 6.8 percent, the most in a year. The metal dropped below its 200-day moving average at about $21,654.

Base metals markets: NI BMMKTS


Soybean and corn futures fell on speculation that Chinese demand will ebb because of slowing economic growth, while an outbreak of avian flu erodes demand for livestock feed. Wheat also dropped.

Soybean futures for July delivery declined 0.1 percent to $13.785 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade.

Corn futures for July delivery dropped 1.8 percent to $6.30 a bushel.

Wheat futures for July delivery slid 3.4 percent to $6.95 a bushel, heading for the biggest drop for a most-active contract since April 1.

Grains markets: NI GRMKTS


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 2.99 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $2.77719 a gallon on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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 3.67 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $2.8351 a gallon on volume that was 23 percent above the 100-day average. Prices touched $2.832, the lowest intraday level since Aug. 2.

Oil Products Europe: NI OPEMKT Gasoline: NI GASOLINE Heating oil: NI HEATOIL


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 1 percent to $1.1976 a pound on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, after touching $1.19375, the lowest for the most-active contract since July 12. The price declined 8.7 percent this year through April 12.

Hog futures for June settlement fell 1.7 percent to 88.375 cents a pound on the CME, heading for the biggest drop since April 5.

Feeder-cattle futures for May settlement slumped 1.2 percent to $1.39275 a pound.

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