* Gold down 23 pct in Q2 on fears over US stimulus wind-down
* Brent crude down for third quarter in a row, worst streak
* Copper slides over 10 pct in Q2, biggest quarterly loss
* New-crop corn, wheat slump as larger US crops loom
(New throughout, updates prices, market activity)
By Jonathan Leff and Veronica Brown
NEW YORK/LONDON, June 28 Gold ended June with
its biggest quarterly loss on record, while copper, corn and
coffee all ended with deep declines, adding to evidence that a
decade of super-cycle gains for commodities is over.
Rallying equities already had investors pulling money from
slumping raw material markets last week, when Federal Reserve
Chairman Ben Bernanke indicated that the U.S. central bank would
soon wind down its bond-buying program.
Concerns of slowing growth in China, a major consumer, added
to the bearish vibe and an intense credit crunch there last week
unnerved global traders. Anxiety eased on Friday as Chinese
stocks rebounded and its central bank issued soothing messages.
Benchmark Brent crude oil fell 66 cents on Friday
and sank 7.1 percent since March for a third quarterly decline,
the longest streak in 15 years. Copper, near its lowest
price in three years, lost 10.3 percent in the quarter. New-crop
corn dived to a seventh day of losses after the U.S. government
reported that farmers had planted larger crops than expected.
The ThomsonReuters-CRB commodity index, down 7
percent for the quarter, has fallen 23 percent since March 2011.
Apart from the financial crisis, it is the deepest and most
sustained decline since raw material markets began to rally in
early 2002, a definitive end to a cycle of super-charged gains.
Gold has fallen the most, as rising bond yields and easing
inflation worries made it less attractive to hold a
non-yield-bearing asset. Investors fled gold exchange traded
funds and sliding prices failed to entice physical buyers.
"Prices are basically falling in a vacuum as there's no
counterparty to buy," London and Capital Investment Director
Ashok Shah said.
"The market needs to get into extremely oversold territory
before you will see people coming back in. The view is that it's
always been difficult to decide what is fair value," he added.
In early trade, spot gold hit a low of $1,180.71 an
ounce, its cheapest since August 2010. Quarter-end book-squaring
and bargain-hunting boosted it in later trade and it rose 2.3
percent to $1,126.76 an ounce.
From March to June, gold slid about 23 percent, its sharpest
quarterly drop ever based on Reuters data from 1968. Without a
major rally, gold should post its first annual fall in 12 years.
COPPER HIT BY SLOWER CHINA GROWTH
Other markets were muted on Friday. Even though Fed
officials made comments aimed at soothing investors, many
remained concerned about a quick end to stimulus after
surprisingly strong U.S. consumer sentiment and other data.
Copper concluded its steepest quarterly drop in two years,
also depressed by concerns over slower growth in top consumer
China. Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange,
up 0.2 percent at $6,765 a tonne, lost 10.3 percent for the
quarter, its third quarterly decline in a row.
"In terms of copper demand we're entering a season of
relative softness in China. From the China side I see copper
more likely to soften sequentially rather than strengthen,"
Barclays Capital analyst Sijin Cheng said.
Grain markets were particularly active, focused on crop and
stockpile fundamentals rather than the Fed.
A U.S. Department of Agriculture report showed
lower-than-expected corn stockpiles but projected
larger-than-expected corn acreage this summer. Old-crop corn
rallied more than 2 percent but new-crop December dived 6
percent for a seventh straight losing session, the longest such
stretch in two years.
Some analysts remained hopeful that commodities could rise
in the second half of this year if the Fed maintains stimulus a
bit longer, China stabilizes and the European economy begins to
show signs of life.
"If you look at all those things, going into Q3 you can see
more stable markets and a bit of a bounce from here," said INTL
FC Stone analyst Ed Meir.
(Editing by David Gregorio)