Metals prices fell sharply Wednesday on growing concerns about the European financial crisis.
The prices of industrial metals like copper and palladium fell in tandem with the U.S. stock market. Commodities investors worried that the economy could slow down and reduce demand for raw materials like copper.
Copper for December delivery fell 9.2 cents, or 2.6 percent, to close at $3.441 per pound. December palladium dropped $22.40, or 3.3 percent, to close at $654.85 an ounce. January platinum lost $29.40, or almost 2 percent, to finish at $1,643.70 an ounce.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 3.3 percent Wednesday afternoon. Markets fell on worries that Europe's financial crisis might worsen after borrowing costs in Italy rose and talks collapsed in Greece on forming a new government.
Industrial metal prices are closely tied with economic growth. The metals are used as raw materials in everything from computers to automobiles. When economic growth slows, so does demand at the world's factories.
In other trading, crop prices also fell. Grain supplies will be larger next year than many analysts had predicted, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The corn surplus next year will be 843 million bushels, which is higher than many analysts expected.
Corn for December delivery fell 4.5 cents Tuesday, or less than 1 percent, to settle at $6.56 per bushel. December soybeans dropped 19.5 cents to $11.855 a bushel. December wheat lost 14 cents, or 2 percent, to finish at $6.43 per bushel.
Gold for December delivery fell $7.60 to settle at $1,791.60 per ounce. December silver fell 79.2 cents, or 2 percent, to close at $34.361 an ounce.
Benchmark crude oil lost $1.06, or 2 percent, to end at $95.74 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Heating oil fell 1.75 cents to finish at $3.0986 per gallon, gasoline futures lost 6.22 cents to close at $2.6442 per gallon and natural gas fell 9.4 cents to close at $3.749 per 1,000 cubic feet.