The Standard & Poor’s GSCI gauge of 24 commodities fell 4.1 percent to close at 621.93 at 3:43 p.m. in New York, led down by gold, silver, and oil. The decline was the largest since Sept. 22.
The UBS Bloomberg CMCI index of 26 raw materials declined 3.4 percent to 1,466.95 at 3:49 p.m.
Gold dropped to a five-month low as a stronger dollar curbed demand for the metal as an alternative asset. Silver slipped the most in three months.
Gold futures for February delivery fell 4.6 percent to settle at $1,586.90 an ounce on the Comex in New York.
Silver futures for March delivery tumbled 7.4 percent to settle at $28.935 an ounce, the lowest settlement price since February 2011.
On the Nymex, palladium futures for March delivery fell 6.7 percent to $619.60 an ounce. Platinum futures for January delivery declined 4.4 percent to $1,426.30 an ounce.
Crude oil in New York tumbled the most since September as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed to raise its production ceiling and as Europe struggled to contain the region’s debt crisis.
Oil for January delivery declined $5.19, or 5.2 percent, to $94.95 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest settlement since Nov. 4. The percentage drop is the biggest since Sept. 22. Prices are up 3.9 percent this year after climbing 15 percent in 2010.
Brent oil for January settlement dropped $4.48, or 4.1 percent, to $105.02 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The contract expires tomorrow.
Cocoa, sugar and coffee fell on mounting speculation that a worsening debt crisis in Europe will hamper global growth and erode raw-materials demand.
On ICE Futures U.S. in New York, cocoa for March delivery retreated 2.8 percent to settle at $2,180 a metric ton at 12:04 p.m. on ICE Futures U.S. in New York. The most-active contract has dropped 28 percent this year.
Raw sugar for March delivery dropped 2.7 percent to 22.8 cents a pound on ICE. The sweetener touched 22.68 cents, the lowest level since June 2.
Arabica-coffee futures for March delivery declined 2.2 percent to $2.18 a pound in New York. The most-active contract is down 9.4 percent this year.
Cotton futures for March delivery fell 2.5 percent to settle at 85.12 cents a pound at 2:33 p.m. The contract touched 84.35 cents, the lowest for a most-active contract since Aug. 24, 2010. The fiber has plunged 41 percent this year as demand waned, making it the worst performer of the GSCI index.
Orange-juice futures for January delivery advanced 0.2 percent to $1.6775 on ICE. Prices are up 2.6 percent this year, heading for a third straight annual gain.
Natural gas futures in New York fell to a 27-month low in New York on concern that mild weather forecast for the next 10 days will do little to erode abundant U.S. supplies.
Gas futures for January delivery declined 4.4 percent to $3.136 per million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest settlement since Sept. 11, 2009. Gas has dropped 5.5 percent this week and 29 percent this year.
U.K. natural gas contracts fell amid record storage stocks as Brent crude slumped and Qatar completed maintenance at liquefied gas plants that supply fuel to Britain.
Gas for the first quarter, typically the period of highest demand, fell as much as 2.4 percent to 57.60 pence a therm at 4:30 p.m. in London, according to broker prices on Bloomberg. That’s the lowest in more than a week. The contract has fallen 8 percent this year and 22 percent since the winter heating season began on Oct. 1.
Gasoline fell the most since August, following crude oil lower.
On the Nymex, gasoline for January delivery declined 4.6 percent, to settle at $2.5037 a gallon on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices are up 2.1 percent in 2011.
January-delivery heating oil fell 3.4 percent to $2.8299 a gallon on the exchange, the lowest level since Oct. 5. Prices are up 11 percent this year.
Copper fell the most in eight weeks on mounting concern that Europe’s debt crisis will erode demand for industrial metals. Aluminum slumped to the lowest since July 2010.
Copper futures for March delivery retreated 4.7 percent to close at $3.2785 a pound at 1:16 p.m. on the Comex in New York, the biggest loss for a most-active contract since Oct. 20.
On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months slipped 5.1 percent to $7,210 a metric ton ($3.27 a pound).
Aluminum declined 2 percent to $1,962 a ton in London after falling to $1,955.75, the lowest since July 20, 2010. LME-monitored stockpiles climbed to a record for the third straight day.
Nickel tumbled 4.9 percent to $17,400 a ton, the biggest drop since Nov. 1. Zinc, tin and lead also declined.
Wheat futures tumbled to the lowest level in more than two years on speculation that demand for commodities will drop because of the debt crisis in Europe.
Wheat futures for March delivery fell 3.3 percent to settle at $5.8075 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. Earlier, the price touched $5.79, the lowest for a most-active contract since July 21, 2010. The grain has tumbled 27 percent this year on higher world output.
Soybeans for January delivery slipped 1.7 percent to $11 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. The oilseed has dropped 21 percent this year on rising world production and U.S. inventories.
Corn for March delivery declined 2.3 percent to $5.8075 a bushel.
Hog futures fell on increasing concern that the European debt crisis will worsen, curbing demand for raw materials. Cattle rose.
Hog futures for February settlement dropped 0.1 percent to settle at 86.325 cents a pound at 1 p.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. The price has gained 8.2 percent in 2011.
Cattle futures for February delivery rose 0.1 percent to settle at $1.18775 a pound in Chicago. The commodity has climbed 9.6 percent in 2011.
Feeder-cattle futures for January settlement were down 0.1 percent at $1.4375 a pound.