Copper futures prices tumbled to a two-year low Friday on fears big trading houses would dump their stocks and further depress a market that has been slammed by a billion dollar trading scandal.
On other markets, sugar futures surged to a 15-month high on fears supplies would dry up if Brazil continued having export problems; soybean futures jumped on Midwestern flooding. The Commodity Research Bureau's index of 17 commodities slid .65 point to 248.61.Copper for July delivery dropped below last Friday's 10-percent plunge, which came after Sumitomo Corp. disclosed its chief copper trader had lost $1.8 billion in unauthorized trades over the past decade.
The market worries Sumitomo - perhaps the world's biggest copper trader - and other large houses will try to unload their massive copper stocks, said analyst Corey Bell with Dean Witter Reynolds in New York.
"Sumitomo couldn't be the only one," he said. "I am certain somebody is out there biting their fingernails, saying `oh boy. We should do something.' "
The market also dropped on news that end-of-week stockpiles on the London Metal Exchange - the world's largest copper exchange - had grown by 5,000 tons, said analyst James Steel at Refco Inc. in New York.
He said such news normally would have little effect but since the Sumitomo scandal traders are becoming unhinged at any bearish news. They also worry China - nor-mally a big importer - is done buying for the year.