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Hedge Funds’ 3-Mo. Retreat on Commodities

BusinessWeek: Hedge funds curbed bullish bets on commodities for a third consecutive month, the longest retreat since the global recession, as Europe’s worsening debt crisis and slowing U.S. job growth sent prices tumbling.

Money managers reduced net-long positions across 18 U.S. futures and options by 8.1 percent to 620,715 contracts in the week ended May 29, extending the monthly decline to 26 percent, Commodity Futures Trading Commission data show. Speculators are now the most bearish since the start of year on copper, oil, heating oil, corn, gold and silver. The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index of 24 raw materials slumped 13 percent in May.

The euro fell to a 23-month low against the dollar June 1 after the European Central Bank rejected a plan to recapitalize Bankia group, Spain’s third-largest lender. The region’s manufacturing fell to a three-year low, and unemployment reached a record 11 percent, reports showed. Europe accounts for 18 percent of copper and wheat demand. The U.S., the world’s biggest oil and natural-gas consumer, said last week that employers added the fewest workers in a year in May.

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