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Saturday, July 7, 2012 - Page updated at 01:00 p.m.
Commodity prices fall on weak US jobs report
By SANDY SHORE
AP Business Writer
Commodity prices dropped Friday after a weak jobs report brought more evidence that the U.S. economy is still sluggish.
The declines were widespread. Gold, industrial metals, oil and natural gas all ended lower. Wheat, corn and soybeans also dropped, ending a four-day advance.
U.S. employers created just 80,000 jobs in June, the third straight month of weak hiring. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 8.2 percent, the Labor Department reported.
The survey was that latest sign that economic growth remains slow pace three years after the recession officially ended.
Borrowing rates for Spain and Italy climbed, an indication that bond investors are less willing to loan those countries money at favorable rates. Those moves came a day after central banks in Europe and China took action to promote economic growth.
Investors are worried about the impact that slower growth in the U.S., Europe and China may have on demand for commodities. There also is renewed speculation that the Federal Reserve may approve new measures to boost the U.S. economy.
"Even if the Fed is out there waiting, the fact that central banks are having to take additional action certainly does not give you a good feeling," Kingsview Financial analyst Matt Zeman said.
The market also was affected by a stronger dollar. Commodities are priced in dollars, so a stronger dollar makes them more expensive for traders who use other currencies.
Gold for August delivery fell $30.50, or 2 percent, to finish at $1,578.90 an ounce. September silver dropped 75.2 cents to $26.92 an ounce.
September copper decreased 8.35 cents to end at $3.4095 per pound, October platinum fell $28.20 to $1,449.50 an ounce and September palladium ended down $5.40 at $580.35 per ounce.
Benchmark oil fell $2.77 to finish at $84.45 per barrel in New York. Heating oil dropped 5.85 cents to $2.7099 per gallon, gasoline futures decreased 4.88 cents to $2.716 per gallon and natural gas ended down 16.9 cents at $2.776 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Corn for December delivery fell 15.5 cents to end at $6.93 per bushel, September wheat dropped 31.75 cents to $8.0625 per bushel and November soybeans decreased 20.75 cents to $15.0575 per bushel.
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