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After 'fiscal Cliff' Party, Commodity Prices Slip

By The Associated Press

Commodity prices slipped across the board Thursday as investors' enthusiasm for the "fiscal cliff" compromise waned. Prices were down for a diverse variety of commodities, including gold, oil and corn.

Commodities followed the stock market, which had also slipped by mid-afternoon after a red-hot performance Wednesday. At that time investors were relieved that Republicans and Democrats had managed to work out a budget deal to at least temporarily ward off automatic tax increases and government spending cuts.

By Thursday, though, investors were less sure. The compromise still leaves unanswered many key questions about the budget. Also, in the middle of the afternoon the Federal Reserve released minutes from its last meeting showing that its policymakers are split over how long to continue a bond-purchasing program meant to stimulate the economy.

Prices for oil and other energy commodities were also down. In New York, benchmark crude for February delivery fell 20 cents to $92.92 per barrel. In London, Brent crude, which is used to price international varieties of oil, fell 33 cents to $112.14 per barrel.

Wholesale gasoline edged down 0.26 cent to $2.7977 a gallon. Heating oil lost 2.12 cents to $3.0251 a gallon. Natural gas fell 3.5 cents to $3.1980 per 1,000 cubic feet.

March contracts for key agricultural commodities were mostly down. Corn slipped 1.5 cents to $6.8925 per bushel. Soybeans lost 5.75 cents to $13.865 per bushel. Wheat was essentially flat, gaining 0.25 cent to $7.555 per bushel.

After rising on Wednesday, prices for most key metals fell on Thursday. Gold for February delivery slipped $14.20 to $1,674.60 per ounce. March silver edged down 28.7 cents to $30.72 per ounce. March copper lost 1.9 cents to $3.717 per pound. March palladium lost $10.80, or 1.5 percent, to $697.15 per ounce.

The exception was platinum. Platinum for April delivery rose $11.90 to $1,579.90 per ounce.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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