Precious metals futures plunged sharply Tuesday with silver losing as much as 70 cents an ounce on the Commodity Exchange in New York.
On other markets, corn and soybeans posted losses while wheat was higher; most livestock and meat contracts were higher; Treasury bonds were sharply higher; and energy futures were mostly higher.
"The metals were futher undone by the strength in the dollar," said Howard Levine, an analyst in New York with the investment firm Shearson Lehman Bros. Inc.
It was the fourth consecutive session of substantial losses for silver, including declines of the daily trading limit on Friday and Tuesday. The May silver contract lost $1.81 an ounce during that period.
"The (past) weakness of the dollar has been the main reason for the strength in the metals," Levine said, "so it's not surprising that metals fell when the dollar firmed."
Also pressuring metals, he said, is an abatement of inflationary concerns and, to a lesser extent, a sharp decline in most agricultural futures.