COMMODITY BRIEFS

COMMODITY BRIEFS

SPOT GOLD DIPS $2

ON SUSPECTED SELLINGSpot gold fell $2 Monday to $344.60 per ounce in less than 30 minutes on suspected producer selling.

"We believe it's producer selling, probably Australian. There is no news otherwise to justify the move," one dealer said.

Dealers said the fall occurred rapidly, as London dealers were getting ready to leave their desk for lunch.

Gold dragged along the other precious metals, with silver losing 2 cents and platinum $1.25, quoting respectively $4.08 and $359.

COPPER BUYERS ASK

FOR DELAYED DELIVERIES

TOKYO - Japanese copper smelters are receiving requests from some customers to delay small portions of their monthly deliveries, said smelter sources.

But reports of excessive inventories are "greatly exaggerated," said one copper producer.

"It depends on the customer," he said. "Some realized in the third or fourth quarter last year that the economy was slowing down."

He noted that his company had cut 1992 import tonnages under long-term contracts during annual negotiations in November and December of last year.

Still, industry sources noted copper fabricators and end-users were eager to limit inventories ahead of the March 31 close of Japan's fiscal year.

An official at the Ministry of International Trade and Industry on Thursday noted stockholders were discussing how to liquidate stocks "as soon as possible."