Malcolm Graham
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Commodities Drop to Lowest Since January as Dollar Climbs

Commodities declined to the lowest in almost eight months as the dollar advanced on speculation that the Federal Reserve will increase interest rates next year, curbing demand for raw materials.

The Bloomberg Commodity Index (BCOM) that tracks 22 futures lost as much as 0.7% to 123.4334, the lowest since Jan. 10 and settled at 123.4755 in New York. Nickel tumbled the most since May, corn traded at a four-year low and Brent crude dropped to the lowest in 17 months.

The dollar, as measured by the Bloomberg spot index that tracks the greenback against 10 peers, climbed to a 14-month high before U.S. data this week forecast to show jobless claims fell and retail sales improved. Fed policy makers will meet on Sept. 16-17. Advances in the greenback make dollar-priced commodities more expensive in terms of other currencies.

“The dollar strength is certainly playing into the weakness of commodities across the board,” Wayne Gordon, a commodity analyst at UBS AG in Singapore, said by phone today.

Nickel for delivery in three months dropped 5 percent to settle at $18,925 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange, the biggest loss since May 15.

Corn for December delivery lost as much as 1.5 percent to $3.43 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade, the lowest for a most-active contract since June 2010.