Tags: US | Commodities | Review

Gold Prices Rise, Bucking Sinking Trend in Metals

Thursday, 06 May 2010 10:02 AM

Gold rose Wednesday, bucking a trend among other metals, as investors view the metal for its value as a safe investment during a volatile trading period.

Other metals are falling Wednesday because of uncertainty over whether Greece's debt problems will spread to other European countries. That uncertainty has hurt the euro and helped the dollar.

"For the first time in months, (investors are) talking about gold as a safe-haven investment, not just a currency trade," said William Rhind, strategic director for ETF Securities.

Gold, which typically trades in the opposite direction of the dollar, traded in the same direction as the U.S. currency. That's because investors see both assets as safe, while stocks become more volatile and the value of the euro drops.

Gold for June delivery rose $5.80 to $1,175.00 an ounce.

The ICE Futures US dollar index rose 1 percent. The dollar index measures the dollar against six other currencies, including the euro. The euro is being hammered because of Greece's debt problems. It fell to a 14-month low against the dollar earlier in the day.

Other metals are continuing to retreat because they are priced in dollars, making them more expensive for foreign investors as the dollar rises. Silver, platinum and palladium all fell by more than 1 percent Wednesday.

July silver fell 30.8 cents to $17.534 an ounce. Platinum for July delivery fell $36.20, or 2.2 percent, to $1,649.60 an ounce. June palladium dropped $6.70 to $508.55 an ounce.

Copper for July delivery fell 2.7 cents to $3.1515 a pound.

Rhind said the metals are likely to remain volatile in the near future as the European officials try to solve the Greek debt crisis. Traders have been concerned that a $144 billion rescue package for Greece won't be enough to keep debt problems from spreading across the continent.

If that view continues to hold, metals like platinum, palladium and silver could all eventually start to rise like gold because they will be seen as safer investments than currencies, Rhind said. For now though, they are hurt by the rising dollar.

Oil and other energy futures contracts all fell because of the stronger dollar. Oil prices also were hurt by a report that showed U.S. crude supplies were larger than expected last week.

The Energy Information Administration said crude inventories rose by 2.8 million barrels last week. Analysts expected an increase of 1.5 million barrels, according to a survey by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.

Benchmark crude lost $2.77 to settle at $79.97 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the second day of sharp declines.

In other Nymex trading, gasoline lost 10.18 cents to settle at $2.2204 per gallon, and heating oil gave up 7.50 cents to settle at $2.1845 a gallon. Natural gas fell 2.2 cents to settle at $3.991 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Grain and bean prices were mixed.

Corn for July delivery rose 4 cents to $3.73 a bushel, while wheat rose 1.25 cents to $5.12 a bushel. Soybeans fell 9 cents to settle at $9.78 a bushel.

Grain and bean investors are keeping an eye on whether the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico will shut down major shipping lanes out of the Mississippi River. If that happens, it could significantly hurt farmers' abilities to export the crops and cause prices to fall.

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