By SANDY SHOREAP Business Writer
Prices for gold, copper and oil fell Monday as a colossal storm began pounding the East Coast.
The commodity exchanges were closed except for electronic trading as mandatory evacuations were imposed in many areas. Stock markets also closed and bond trading ended early.
Trading was light with attention focused on the storm and its potential impact on the region. Investors mostly stayed away from trading commodities. The lighter volume created some volatility in prices. "It's going to be kind of a wishy-washy interesting first few days of the week," said analyst Matt Zeman of Kingsview Financial.
The price of oil fell on expectations that demand will decrease as the biggest refineries in the Northeast reduced or closed operations. The massive storm could affect power supplies and cause flooding, which could delay restarting the refineries. That, in turn, pushed up prices for other energy products on speculation that supplies may tighten.
Benchmark crude dropped 74 cents to end at $85.54 per barrel. Heating oil rose 1.74 cents to $3.1152 per gallon, wholesale gasoline increased 5.77 cents, or 2.1 percent, to $2.7568 per gallon and natural gas gained 7.1 cents, or 2.1 percent, to $3.471 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Meanwhile, investors had little reaction to a new government report showing that consumer spending increased in September to the highest level since February.
In December metals contracts, gold fell $3.20 to finish at $1,708.70 per ounce, silver fell 29.1 cents to $31.745 per ounce, copper dropped 5.55 cents to $3.4945 per pound and palladium ended down $5.65 at $589.75 per ounce. January platinum dropped $12.10 to $1,533.90 per ounce. In agricultural contracts, December wheat fell 5.75 cents to end at $8.58 per bushel, December corn decreased 0.75 cent to $7.37 per bushel and January soybeans dropped 34 cents to $15.2975 per bushel.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.