NEW YORK, July 30 Commodity prices mostly fell
on Tuesday, with copper leading the losses on gloomy factory
data expected from top buyer China, and oil settling lower after
a recent rally in U.S. crude was deemed excessive.
Gold also slipped as investors awaited a policy statement on
Wednesday from the U.S. Federal Reserve after a two-day meeting
of the central bank, which investors hoped would provide new
clues about the tapering off of the U.S. stimulus program.
The 19-commodity Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index
settled down 0.7 percent, extending the previous
session's loss of 0.3 percent.
Other markets that ended in negative territory were soybeans
, natural gas, aluminum and silver,
all of which fell at least 1 percent.
Copper closed 2 percent down, touching its weakest levels in
nearly three weeks, as expectations of weak manufacturing data
from top consumer China dimmed prospects for growth in the
demand for metals. Benchmark three-month copper on the London
Metal Exchange closed at $6,735 a tonne, a low since
Investor sentiment for copper turned negative on the belief
that activity in China's vast manufacturing sector contracted in
July for the first time in 10 months, according to a Reuters
The closely watched purchasing managers' indexes (PMI),
barometers for China's factory sector, could produce the lowest
reading since September 2012, Commerzbank analyst Eugen Weinberg
"The whole industrial metals complex is under pressure and
it is very much about China," he said.
U.S. crude fell $1.47 to settle at $103.08 per barrel
after news that BP Plc would start up several more units
at its revamped Whiting, Indiana, refinery spurred selling in a
market that hit 16-month highs last week.
Data from the industry's American Petroleum Institute showed
that U.S. commercial crude oil stockpiles dropped for the fifth
straight week, falling 740,000 barrels last week, less than the
2.3 million barrels forecast in a Reuters poll of 10 analysts.
In gold, the spot price of bullion was down 58 cents
at $1,326.41 an ounce by 3:03 p.m. EDT (1903 GMT), having traded
in a narrow $10 range.
Gold plunged 5 percent at the end of June after the Fed's
policy meeting gave the most explicit signal on the central
bank's plans to wind down the era of easy money. Fed chief Ben
Bernanke's subsequent remarks about the need to keep a
stimulative policy in place given low inflation and an uncertain
market triggered a rebound in the metal's price.