World commodity prices have taken a beating in recent weeks, as middling economic growth in the U.S. and China and Europe’s debt problems are weighing on demand for all manner of raw materials.
The scale of the commodities slump is summed up nicely in this chart courtesy of Bespoke Investment Group, which described the situation with precious metals as an “absolute bloodbath.”
The blowout in gold prices has received most of the attention of late. Gold futures for June delivery closed at $1,361 an ounce on the Comex in New York on April 15 and dropped by more than $200 in the two previous trading sessions.
Gold’s fall of 13 percent since April 11 was the biggest two-session decline since 1980, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. Silver and copper prices are also tumbling.
Both Goldman Sachs (GS) and Credit Suisse (CS) have issued reports recently calling for the end of gold’s 12-year bond market. Gold is losing its luster as a hedge against inflation. Why? There isn’t any significant inflation, according to the JP Morgan Global Consumer Price Index.
Global inflation peaked at 4 percent in 2011 and has fallen steadily since. Global prices in February were up only about 2.5 percent from a year earlier, the bank’s index says.
The commodity bust is also tied to worries about the global economic outlook. The International Monetary Fund’s (IMF’s) latest World Economic Outlook sees commodity prices declining this year and in 2014 as well.
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