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Oil Below $50, Commodities slide & Dollar holds gains


U.S. oil fell below $50 a barrel and gold traded near a five-year low after a selloff that’s seen commodities slide to the lowest in 13 years. The dollar held gains versus the euro, while Spanish and Italian bonds climbed.

West Texas Intermediate oil fell 0.4 percent to $49.97 a barrel by 7:14 a.m. in London, while gold futures retreated 0.6 percent for a ninth straight decline. The dollar held near a three-month high against the euro, while the yen touched its weakest in a month. The yield on 10-year notes from Spain and Italy fell at least two basis points. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index edged higher, while U.S. and European stock futures were little changed.

The outlook for precious metals and oil prices has soured as the strengthening of the U.S. economy pushes the Federal Reserve toward boosting interest rates for the first time since 2006. Gold slid the most in two years during 15 minutes of Asian trading Monday as the dollar held onto recent gains. Australia’s central bank said weaker commodity prices probably dragged on first-quarter growth as the country’s currency remained too strong.

“Commodities are going to face a lot of headwinds,” said Fross & Fross Wealth Management President Thomas Fross in an interview on Bloomberg TV. “Gold is a really big insurance policy against a declining dollar and a declining economy, and we’re not looking at either of those. As the Fed raises interest rates we think it’s going to force more people out of fixed income and into the equity market.”

Source: Bloomberg