Copper and palladium prices fell Wednesday after Japan said declines in production and consumer spending will limit growth as it rebuilds after its earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis.
Other commodities were mixed, a day after prices dropped across the board on worries that demand may slow because of high oil prices, Japan's woes and Europe's financial problems.
It was the first time in six months that Japan lowered its economic outlook.
The 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami caused massive damage March 11 in northeastern Japan, killing up to 25,000 people. Many factories were destroyed and a severe parts shortage occurred.
About 16 percent of global palladium demand comes from Japan, where it is used in catalytic converters, industrial production and dental products, according to a report from BNP Paribas.
Although Japan's crisis has affected palladium prices, BNP Paribas analyst Anne-Laure Tremblay said in the report that they expect the market to improve in the second half of the year and into 2012.
Copper also was pressured by worries that demand in China may weaken because of the government's efforts to curb inflation, which could create a potential surplus in that nation, said Dave Meger, vice president of metals trading at Vision Financial Markets. China is a huge importer of many commodities including copper and oil.
Copper for May delivery fell 8.9 cents to settle at $4.2945 a pound while June palladium fell $4.80 to settle at $765.30 an ounce.
Gold and silver rose in part due to investors looking for more stable assets to hold because of the uncertainty over government debt problems in Europe and uprisings in the oil-rich region of the Middle East and North Africa, Meger said.
June gold added $2 to settle at $1,455.60 an ounce and May silver added 17.1 cents to $40.237 an ounce. July platinum rose $2.90 to $1,777.20 an ounce.
In other trading, oil prices rose after the Energy Department reported that gasoline stockpiles fell more than five times what analysts had expected.
Benchmark oil for May delivery added 86 cents to settle at $107.11 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
In other Nymex contracts for May, heating oil rose 3.02 cents to $3.2028 per gallon, gasoline gained 7.83 cents to $3.2424 per gallon and natural gas added 4.3 cents to $4.141 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Grains and beans were mixed.
In May contracts, wheat fell 6.75 cents to settle at $7.5275 a bushel, corn rose 3 cents to $7.555 a bushel and soybeans added 3.75 cents to $13.335 a bushel.