NEW YORK, June 17 (Reuters) - Calpers, the largest U.S. pension system, saw the value of its commodity holdings shrink nearly 6 percent in April as the California-based fund saw the worst return in a year in its raw materials portfolio, data showed on Monday.
The $260 billion California Public Employees' Retirement System said commodities accounted for $1.214 billion of its total fund as of April 30, down $70 million, or 5.5 percent, from $1.284 billion at March 31.
Calpers' said in a monthly fund update that overall allocation to commodities remained unchanged at the March level of 0.5 percent, a reflection of its large asset base.
In terms of performance, commodities posted a negative return of 9.8 percent for the year through April. It was the only Calpers portfolio that was in the red for the period and was the worst performer by far. The top performing portfolio was public equity, which was up 16.4 percent, and Calpers' total fund value rose 13.4 percent.
Commodity prices tumbled in mid-April after signs of stagnating growth in China, euro zone debt trouble and uncertainty about U.S. economic stimulus triggered a record selloff in gold that eventually spread across other raw materials markets.
The Standard & Poors Goldman Sachs Commodity Index .SPGSCITR, the benchmark for Calpers' commodities portfolio, fell 4.7 percent in April for its sharpest decline in 11 months.
(Reporting By Barani Krishnan; editing by Jim Marshall)
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