Slowing economic growth abroad combined with the Eurozone debt crisis pushed commodities lower in May after months of strong, sustained gains.
The Dow Jones-UBS Commodity Index shed just over 5% in May as 16 of the 19 index constituents lost ground.
"While commodities markets experienced a pull-back during the month of May, it is worth noting that the timing of this month's correction matches last year's decline, with the markets focusing on very similar issues -- slowdowns in global economic growth and sovereign debt concerns in Europe," Nelson Louie, global head of commodities at Credit Suisse Asset Management, said in a statement.
Precious metals were especially hard hit though gold leveled out at $1,490 an ounce, down only 1.34% for the month, offsetting slumping silver prices to some degree. Silver futures tumbled more than 14% during a three-day period earlier in the month, nestling in at just over $40 an ounce.
Analysts said the main reason precious metals didn't completely fall through the floor last month was due to investors' affinity for gold as a reserve currency alternative amid renewed fears over the Eurozone debt crisis.
Energy shed 7.26% for the month as the entire sector rode a pricing pendulum based on the fallout from Mississippi flooding that could impact refined product distribution in the U.S as well as President Obama's mid-month speech regarding drilling on public lands.
Agriculture lost 1.76% collectively following a negative USDA world agricultural report that triggered an initial liquidation across the grains complex. Concerns of supply disruptions, in conjunction with existing tight inventory levels, led to mixed performance for some of its components.
"The potential for weather-related disruptions could affect key agricultural commodities, especially as we enter the growing/harvest seasons for key producing nations for corn, wheat, cotton and coffee," Louie said.
Industrial metals fell 2.74%, mostly due to concerns over potentially weaker demand from China. Livestock decreased 7.39% for the month as reports of increased inventories drove down near-term futures.
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