COMMODITIES-Gold, copper, oil tumble on recovery worries

LONDON Wed Feb 20, 2013 12:01pm EST

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LONDON Feb 20 (Reuters) - Commodities tumbled on Wednesday as investors worried about global supply and demand issues amid an uneven economic recovery, selling off gold, copper and oil.

There were also jitters ahead of minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve due to be released later on Wednesday.

Gold slid to the lowest levels in six months, benchmark industrial metal copper fell to a one-month low and U.S. crude oil shed more than $2 a barrel.

A rally in commodities this year on upbeat economic data from the United States and China may have got ahead of actual improvement in underlying demand, some analysts said.

A mixed reading of U.S. housing data added to concerns about whether recent improvements in economic figures would continue.

"We're entering the demand destruction price zone - when you start to have some fears about global demand," Olivier Jakob at Petromatrix said, referring to oil prices.

"It's really a price level when you need to take into account the risk that demand could take a hit."

The 19-commodity Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index lost 0.65 percent, dropping to the lowest level since Jan. 11. The CRB rose 4.3 percent during January, but has eased back during most of February, and has shaved its yearly gain to only 0.5 percent.

Brent crude fell below $116 a barrel, down $1.70, as the prospect of more Saudi supply outweighed optimism that an improving global economy would bolster demand. U.S. crude was at $94.41 a barrel, down $2.25, at 1654 GMT.

Spot gold fell to six-month lows, breaking through support at $1,600 an ounce, as investors were drawn to riskier assets.

Copper prices slipped on Wednesday to their lowest in more than a month, dragged down by persistent demand concerns as post-holiday buying from top consumer China remained subdued, and with a strong dollar also weighing on prices. (Reporting by Eric Onstad; Editing by Anthony Barker)

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