The price of gold is languishing, much like the global economy.
Gold for December delivery fell $10.20 to finish Monday at $1,612.60 per ounce. That's about $10 less than it was on June 1 and nearly $190 less than the high for the year of $1,798.90 per ounce in late February.
The decline came after Japan said its economy grew less than expected during the second quarter. Other Asian-Pacific countries also are experiencing sluggish growth, including China, which is a huge importer of commodities such as oil and copper. That has raised concerns because the region supported the global economy when the U.S. and Europe began to slow.
For much of the summer, gold prices have moved largely based on speculation about whether authorities in the U.S, Europe and China will take additional steps to promote their respective economies.
Stimulus measures can raise demand for commodities, which drives up prices for industrial metals and oil, for example. Gold benefits because it often is used as a hedge against inflation.
The Federal Reserve has pledged to try to bolster economic growth if hiring remains weak but didn't take immediate action after a meeting earlier this month. Now traders are awaiting Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's remarks Aug. 31 at an annual economic conference in Jackson Hole, Wyo.
The European Central Bank and China are believed to be considering action, too.
"Unless we start to see some effect of stimulus, traders are concentrating on what is now," said George Gero, a vice president at RBC Global Futures. "If traders can't find something positive to point to, they tend to shy away from taking risks."
Concerns about a slowing global economy also weighed on industrial metals and energy products. Volumes were light which often can exaggerate price shifts.
Silver for September delivery fell 29.5 cents to end at $27.767 per ounce, September copper dropped 3.9 cents to $3.3535 per pound, October platinum declined $7.10 to $1,392.80 per ounce and September palladium ended down $7.50 at $574.70 per ounce.
Benchmark oil fell 14 cents to finish at $92.73 per barrel. Heating oil decreased 0.22 cent to $3.0183 per gallon, gasoline dropped 1.32 cents to $2.9907 per gallon and natural gas ended down 4.1 cents at $2.729 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Corn for December delivery fell 17 cents to finish at $7.9225 per bushel, September wheat decreased 28.5 cents to $8.5675 per bushel and November soybeans dropped 43 cents to $16.0075 per bushel.