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Commodities plummet - Charts of the day: oil, silver and gold plus EUR/USD

Oil fell for a fifth day, heading for its biggest weekly decline since December 2008 after reports indicated economic weakness in the U.S. and Europe. Crude for June delivery dropped as much as $5.17, or 5.2 percent, to $94.63 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract was at $97.80 at 12:03 p.m. London time. Oil has plunged 14 percent this week, the largest weekly slump since the period ending Dec. 19, 2008. Yesterday, futures in New York fell $9.44, or 8.6 percent, to $99.80, the lowest price since March 16 and the biggest percentage drop since April 20, 2009.

Typically, speculators went all-out-no-questions-asked in silver and gold as well. After more than doubling in the past year and hitting a 31-year-high last Friday, silver prices plunged nearly 30% this week, falling below $35 per troy ounce on Thursday. Gold is still attractive: Mexico bought 100,000 kilos in the last few months. In March alone, Russion increased its gold reserve by 18,800 kilos, while Thailand bought 9,300 kilos.

After Trichet said that ECB will "monitor the market closely" after announcing no rate increase yesterday, which in euro-speak means no rate increase in June neither, the euro fell against the dollar.

Oil prices start to chip at global growth forecasts

The steep rise in oil prices as unrest shook several countries in the Middle East and North Africa has rekindled fears of a global growth slowdown, and economists are starting to mull downward revisions to their expectations.

Oil markets have taken a breather in recent days, but so far this year oil has risen nearly 11% as geopolitical concerns centering in the Middle East and North Africa have powered oil’s rally.

High prices mean higher gasoline prices, which in turn have stoked concerns of rising inflation just as the global economy appeared on the mend after the 2008 financial crisis.

At least one big bank has lowered its expectations for global growth partly based on the rallying oil prices. Other private-sector economists say they’re holding off — unless oil prices spike again.

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