Darren Kugler
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Darren Kugler in Commodities,

China’s yuan devaluation spells trouble for these commodities

What it means for oil, gold, copper

Tough times for copper.

China is the world’s largest consumer of commodities and, when it comes to metals, is the largest producer of many, as well. So the country’s surprise decision to devalue the yuan by around 1.9% versus the dollar sent shock waves through commodity markets Tuesday.

Analysts at Macquarie offered up a concise explanation for what happened:

“Assume that the metal price in U.S. dollars is constant, then a fall in the yuan against the dollar increases the yuan price of that metal. This should encourage Chinese producers to produce more of the metal, and Chinese consumers to consume less of it,” they said, in a note. “This will mean China needs to import less of the metal (or if it is an exporter, it can export more of metal). This should lower the ‘world price’, i.e. the U.S. dollar price.”

For investors pining for a bottom in commodities, China’s decision wasn’t a welcome move. Beyond the currency effects, it also raises worries about the state of China’s economy and the potential for future demand.

Here’s a look at how markets are responding:

Oil

FactSet

Oil hits a six-year low.

Crude oil took it on the chin Tuesday, sending the West Texas Intermediate futures CLU5, +0.60% , the U.S. benchmark, to the lowest close since March 2009.

The move raises fears “that the slowdown in China is accelerating and the Chinese government is panicking,” said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at Price Futures Group. “While the hope of more exports might inspire thoughts of more commodity demand the strength in the dollar might offset those gains.”

Industrial metals

FactSet

China is weighing on copper.
http://www.marketwatch.com/story/chinas-yuan-devaluation-spe...