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COMMODITIES-Greece, China woes trigger fresh rout, led by oil, copper
July 6, 2015 / 4:07 PM / 2 years ago

COMMODITIES-Greece, China woes trigger fresh rout, led by oil, copper

* Greeks vote “no” to bailout terms

* Beijing unleashes salvo of market support measures

* Steel, iron ore prices down 15 pct since June (Updates prices, adds comment from analyst, adds NEW YORK to dateline)

NEW YORK/LONDON, July 6 (Reuters) - Commodities prices dropped to their lowest in nearly three months on Monday, dragged lower by a fresh rout in oil and copper as Greece’s rejection of debt bailout terms and China’s stock market woes unleashed a fresh round of selling.

Gold eked out small gains, one of only five commodities to close higher, on a small flurry of safe-haven buying.

In its biggest one-day drop in five months, crude oil plunged as much as 8 percent, while copper on the London Metal Exchange fell almost 3 percent, its worst day in six months.

Greece’s deepening economic crisis is unlikely to hurt global fuel demand on a major scale, but nervous oil investors raced for the exits, taking four-day crude’s losses to more than 10 percent, the largest rout since early January.

Global Brent prices collapsed below the $60-a-barrel mark for the first time since mid-April.

Adding to the selling pressure, concerns grew that Iran may start selling crude in the saturated global market if sanctions are eased as a July 7 deadline on a nuclear deal nears.

“Commodities are down on concerns about Greece and China, especially China where the slowdown appears to be more pronounced,” said Norbert Ruecker, head of commodities research at Julius Baer.

“Greece does not matter at all in terms of demand for commodities, but financial market uncertainty is translating into U.S. dollar strength.”

The 19-commodity Thomson Reuters/Core Commodity CRB Index hit its lowest in almost three months for its biggest one-day drop in just over seven months as selling accelerated in brisk afternoon trade.

Greeks voted a resounding no to a referendum on an international bailout that also raised concerns it would leave the European Union and the euro. The euro fell against the dollar, weighing on demand for dollar-denominated commodities from holders of the single currency.

Commodities were also pulled lower after top base metals consumer China rolled out emergency measures to halt the stock market’s slide.

Chinese shares have fallen as much as 30 percent since June due in part to the economy growing at its slowest pace in a generation.

The news triggered a sell-off in steel and iron ore futures, as investors worried that slower economic growth may hurt demand for materials used in infrastructure and building.

The most-traded October steel rebar futures contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange closed at 2,027 yuan ($326.54) a tonne, the lowest since the contract launched in 2009, hitting its daily downside limit.

The most-active September iron ore futures on the Dalian Commodity Exchange touched the daily downside limit of 4 percent, falling for the seventh day to 394.5 yuan a tonne, its lowest closing price since April 23.

Bucking the downtrend, gold rose $2, or 0.17 percent, to $1,169 per ounce, although its failure to make any significant safe-haven rally shows bullion’s struggle amidst prospects of higher U.S. interest rates.

Some traders said the drop in Wall Street equities was not as steep as some had feared and the International Monetary Fund reassured investors by saying it was ready to help Greece if asked to do so.

“The fact that we are not a total meltdown as far as the markets are concerned suggests that investors are thinking that the Greek negotiations will ultimately result in an agreement,” said INTL FCStone analyst Edward Meir. (Reporting by Pratima Desai in London, Josephine Mason in New York, Henning Gloystein, Florence Tan, A. Ananthalakshmi, and Gavin Maguire in Singapore; Editing by David Evans and Lisa Shumaker)

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