Commodity Index extends slide, drops to lowest since October

June 1 (Bloomberg) -- Commodities extended their decline, touching the lowest level in almost eight months, after U.S. employers created fewer jobs than economists estimated and Chinese manufacturing slowed.

The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index fell 1.4 percent to 587.67 at 9:42 a.m. in New York, after touching 578.35, the lowest level since Oct. 4. The index has dropped 5.3 percent this week, heading for a fifth straight decline and the biggest since September. Oil, natural gas and gasoline led the losses.

U.S. payrolls climbed by 69,000 last month, less than the most pessimistic forecast in a Bloomberg News survey, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. China’s Purchasing Managers’ Index fell to 50.4 in May from 53.3 in April, China’s statistics bureau and logistics federation said today in Beijing. Euro area and U.K. manufacturing contracted.

“The U.S. payroll numbers were significantly weaker than expected and the PMI out of China and the U.K. were terrible as well,” said Jason Schenker, president of Prestige Economics LLC, an Austin, Texas-based energy consultant. “We’re getting very weak data going into June and the markets don’t like it. Economies are slowing and demand will fall.”

Crude oil for July delivery fell $2.23, or 2.6 percent, to $84.30 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract dropped to $82.56, the lowest intraday price since Oct. 7. Prices fell 17 percent in May, the biggest slide since December 2008.

Brent oil for July settlement fell as much as $4.79 a barrel, or 4.1 percent, to $97.70 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London, the lowest level since Feb. 8, 2011. It last traded at $99.70, down 7.2 percent this year.

Precious Metals

Gold rose the most in two weeks on speculation that the Federal Reserve will take steps to stimulate growth. Gold futures for August delivery jumped 1.7 percent to $1,597.80 an ounce at 9:49 a.m. on the Comex in New York.

Silver futures for July delivery climbed 1.7 percent to $28.23 an ounce on the Comex. Prices slipped 11 percent last month and are down for a sixth straight week.

The GSCI Spot Index dropped 13 percent last month, the worst monthly loss since November 2008.

Bloomberg News

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