(Bloomberg) -- Commodities headed for the biggest annual loss since the global financial crisis in 2008, retreating for a record fourth year, as a global glut spurred a rout in oil prices and a stronger dollar cut the allure of raw materials.
The Bloomberg Commodity Index, which tracks 22 products from crude to copper, fell 0.9% to 105.1845 points at 8:53 a.m. in New York, after dropping to the lowest level since March 2009 earlier today. Its lost 16% this year, with crude, gasoline and heating oil the biggest decliners. A fourth year of losses would be the longest since at least 1991.
Energy prices retreated in 2014 as a jump in U.S. drilling sparked a surge in output and price war with OPEC, which chose to maintain supplies to try to retain market share. The dollar climbed to the highest level in more than five years as a U.S. recovery spurred speculation that the Federal Reserve will start to raise borrowing costs next year. Commodities are set for a volatile year in 2015, with crude oil poised to extend its slump, according to Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd.
What were seeing is that supplies from North America have really outpaced worldwide demand growth and as a result, we have a supply glut, Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates LLC in Houston, said by phone. And that of course has put pressure on prices over the last several months. And as a result, its dragging down commodities indexes as well.
Brent for February settlement traded at $56.03 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange, with prices 49% lower this year. West Texas Intermediate dropped 2.7% to $52.65 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gasoline sank 49% this year.
A slowdown in China also hurt demand for raw materials as policy makers grappled with a property slowdown, and data today showed a factory gauge at a seven-month low in December. The worlds biggest user of metals is headed for its slowest full- year economic expansion since 1990. Chinas central bank cut interest rates last month for the first time since 2012.
Arabica coffee was the biggest gainer this year as the worst drought in decades eroded supplies in Brazil, the largest producer and exporter. Nickel rose the most among metals, gaining 9.1% to $15,159 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange after Indonesia halted ore exports. Bothcommodities rose in the early months of 2014, before dropping this quarter.
While most commodities looked oversold as the New Year neared, weak near-term fundamentals were unlikely to bring much confidence, ANZ analysts including Mark Pervan said in a report dated Dec. 22. An oversupplied market was likely to keep crude oil prices under pressure, they wrote.
Deutsche Bank AG this month cut its 2015 forecast for Brent to $72.50, down from an October prediction for an average of $88.75. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. expects Brent to average $80 to $85 a barrel in 2015, while WTI may trade at $70 to $75.
The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index, which tracks the U.S. currency against major peers, advanced 11% in 2014 amid speculation the Fed may raise interest rates in the third quarter as the worlds biggest economy improves.