(Corrects Brent's Tuesday close and milestone for monthly loss,
* Copper down 7 pct for April, sharpest drop since May 2012
* Brent oil also off 7 pct on month, biggest drop since May
* Gold loses 8 pct for April, sharpest slide since December
By Barani Krishnan
NEW YORK, April 30 (Reuters) - Oil and copper fell on
Tuesday, finishing April with the largest monthly declines in
nearly a year, and gold slipped too on uncertainty whether U.S.
and European central banks will favor more monetary easing when
they meet later in the week.
On the agricultural front, corn prices dropped their most in
a week as traders took profit on Monday's rally which pushed the
market to a 2-month peak. Wheat was one of the few markets that
bucked the trend, rallying on concerns of crop damage during the
The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index, a
closely-watched indicator for commodity prices, finished nearly
3 percent down for April and almost half a percentage point
lower for the session.
The slump came despite the dollar's drop to a 2-month low
against a basket of currencies on Tuesday, after an April
reading for business activity in the U.S. Midwest unexpectedly
While a weak dollar should logically stir inflation concerns
that boost commodities, analysts said investors were taking
their cue more from global economic data that had lately been
Signs of stagnating China growth, euro zone debt trouble and
uncertainty about further U.S. economic stimulus led
commodities to one of their most brutal sell-offs in mid-April.
Oil's benchmark Brent crude fell below $100 a barrel for the
first time in nine months, gold had its biggest loss in dollar
terms and copper sank to an 18-month low at the height of the
Prices have since recovered but were in a range as investors
tried to figure out if policy makers at the U.S. Federal Reserve
would affirm the central bank's economic stimulus plans in
meetings scheduled this week. Bond-buying by the Fed had fueled
investment activity in commodities for more than two years now.
Investors were also looking out for a possible rate cut by
the European Central Bank later this week as the ECB tries to
shore up flagging growth in the euro zone.
"In the last couple of weeks, economic data all over the
world has capped the upside, and until data shows a strong
rebound, there's little chance for a bounce back," said Andy
Sommer, analyst at EGL in Dietikon, Switzerland.
While the mid-April market tumble may be overdone, "any
price recovery from here is likely to be mild, divergent and
difficult to sustain without an improvement in growth," Barclays
Capital added in a second quarter outlook on commodities.
On Tuesday, London's Brent crude closed at $102.37 a
barrel, down 1.4 percent on the day. For the month, the market
was down 7 percent, its sharpest loss since May.
Benchmark three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange
closed at $7,055 a tonne, down 1.4 percent for the
session. For April, LME copper was off nearly 7 percent, its
biggest drop since May.
The spot price of gold was at around $1,473 an ounce,
about 0.2 percent cheaper on the day and nearly 8 percent lower
for April -- its sharpest monthly drop since December.
Prices at 3:09 p.m. EDT (1909 GMT)
LAST/ NET PCT YTD
CLOSE CHG CHG CHG
US crude 93.24 -1.26 -1.3% 1.5%
Brent crude 102.03 -1.78 -1.7% -8.2%
Natural gas 4.343 -0.049 -1.1% 29.6%
Gold 1474.00 -2.30 -0.2% -12.0%
US Copper 318.75 -3.90 -1.2% -12.7%
LME Copper 7055.00 -98.50 -1.4% -11.0%
Dollar 81.770 -0.377 -0.5% 6.5%
US corn 683.25 -0.75 -0.1% -2.1%
US soybeans 1467.75 -4.00 -0.3% 3.5%
US wheat 721.75 12.00 1.7% -7.2%
US Coffee 134.95 1.35 1.0% -6.2%
US Cocoa 2368.00 33.00 1.4% 5.9%
US Sugar 17.67 0.18 1.0% -9.4%
US silver 24.144 0.022 0.1% -20.1%
US palladium 697.80 -1.40 -0.2% -0.8%
(Editing by Andrew Hay)
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