COMMODITIES: The Spiral Unwinds

Hope for an easing in the rise of food prices dried up under summer's rainless skies, but the climate in other commodities markets is beginning to look more clement. Since the end of April, an index of prices for industrial raw materials compiled by London's influential weekly, the Economist, has dropped 32%; metals plunged 43%. Because of numerous other inflationary pressures, such as interest rates and wages, the drop does not foreshadow a fall in the prices of cars or refrigerators —though Manhattan's Tiffany & Co.

is reducing its silver prices by 10% this week because "raw silver prices have...

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