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Commodities start 2010 on a negative note

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The S&P GSCI declined 7.89 per cent in January as each of its main components landed in negative territory during the month.

The S&P GSCI Industrial Metals Index was the hardest hit sector in January, falling 8.92 per cent after registering an 82.42 per cent gain in 2009.
 
“Fears of potential economic weakness, as well as some reversion of the substantial asset rallies seen in 2009, were certainly at play in January,” says Michael McGlone, director of commodity indexing at S&P Indices. “The decline in January coincided with a 3.60 per cent loss for the S&P 500, a 2.06 per cent increase in the US Dollar Index and a 32 basis point decline on the yield of the benchmark US two year note.”
 
Also giving back some of its 2009 gains in January was the S&P GSCI Energy Index. The index fell 8.63 per cent in January after rising 11.22 per cent in 2009.

Agriculture was also pressured in January as the USDA crop report indicated a surprisingly ample US harvest, prompting the S&P GSCI Agriculture Index to decline 7.24 per cent during the month.
 
On the positive side, soft commodities bucked the trend in January. Led by sugar, the S&P GSCI Softs Index gained 3.47 per cent during the month, and has now posted a 12-month return of 46.69 per cent.
 
The S&P GSCI is a benchmark for investment performance in the commodity markets.

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