Copper, oil plunge

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June 30, 2010 3:01 PM EST

Waning hopes on the potential power of continued international growth pushed down commodities today, with copper suffering the hardest hit.

A soar in the greenback and a fall in equities urged by weak U.S. and Chinese economic news placed the commodities markets in a sea of red.
For copper, the sell-off repelled earlier optimism over the prospect of markets turning a corner and continuously moving higher, according to Country Hedging analyst Sterling Smith.

Copper futures slumped 5.1 per cent to conclude at $2.9305 a pound on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.

In the crude oil market, futures plunged to a two-week low today. Light sweet crude for August delivery was 3 per cent or $US2.31 down at $US75.94 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. This is the undermost level since June 14 and the largest single-day fall since June 4.

Crude values have plunged more than 9 per cent in the second quarter and front-month futures are 6.8 per cent lower from the onset of the year.

The last several weeks have been marked by turmoil across all asset classes due to fear surrounding Europe's sovereign debt trouble.

Analysts said today's movement, however, felt more like a capitulation to worries that the second half of 2010 would not display the development investors were looking forward to.

"This feels more like economic uncertainty and the idea of seeing future slowdowns," Mr Smith said.

The lack of certainty was stoked by reports that the Conference Board corrected its leading indicator for China's economy, updating it down to show 0.3 per cent growth in April from 1.7 per cent earlier due to a calculation error.

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