Commodity prices fall on global economic concerns

AP News
Posted: Jun 24, 2011 4:59 PM
Commodity prices fall on global economic concerns

Commodity prices were mostly lower Friday as investors searched for clues about whether the release of emergency oil reserves will help economic growth.

Most metals, corn, wheat and soybeans settled lower Friday. Oil rose but other energy products were mixed.

Many investors are awaiting a clearer picture of how the economy will perform in the months ahead. Much of the focus is on oil and whether the 28-nation International Energy Agency's decision to release 60 million barrels of crude from emergency stocks will help lower prices.

"I think this is just reflective overall of a new level of cautiousness about all commodities, kind of heading to the sidelines until we can reassess whether or not lower oil prices are going to help restart the economy," said Richard Feltes, a vice president of research at R.J. O'Brien & Associates.

There have been signs this week of slower economic growth in the U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke warned that some problems, such as the weak housing market, could persist into next year.

Investors also have concerns about Europe's financial problems. A plan to help Greece with its debt crisis was offset by news that Moody's Investors Service said it might downgrade the credit ratings of some Italian banks.

In energy trading, benchmark crude for August delivery rose 14 cents to settle at 91.16 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

In other Nymex contracts, heating oil fell 3.05 cents to settle at $2.7689 per gallon, gasoline dropped 6.05 cents to $2.7159 per gallon and natural gas rose 3.6 cents to $4.229 per 1,000 cubic feet.

In metals contracts, gold for August delivery fell $19.60 Friday to settle at $1,500.90 an ounce. July silver dropped 36.4 cents to settle at $34.638 an ounce.

July copper rose 5.95 cents to settle at $4.0985 a pound and July platinum fell $16.90 to $1,677.60 an ounce. September palladium dropped $11.85 to $731.50 an ounce.

Grains and beans were lower. September wheat fell 8.25 cents to settle at $6.61 a bushel. December corn dropped 14 cents to settle at $6.32 a bushel. November soybeans fell 8 cents to $13.0925 a bushel.