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Stronger Dollar Continues to Chip Away at Gold

Friday, 11 Dec 2009 03:41 PM

Gold failed to hold on to early gains Friday, falling for the fifth time in six days as the dollar strengthened.

Other metals and energy futures were mixed. Agriculture futures were slightly higher.

Gold for February delivery lost $6.30 to settle at $1,119.90 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after being up as much as $17.20 earlier in the session.

Gold prices fell as the dollar rose sharply following reports showing a big increase in retail sales and improved consumer confidence. The day's news raised hopes that consumers are starting to feel more comfortable spending, which will help spur economic growth.

The ICE Futures US dollar index, which measures the greenback against other currencies, jumped 0.7 percent to its highest level in two months.

A stronger dollar makes commodities more expensive to foreign buyers. It also hurts gold's appeal as a hedge against inflation and a weak currency.

After falling for much of this year, the dollar has shown some strength in recent days as upbeat news on the economy leads investors to question when the Federal Reserve might raise interest rates. Higher rates would make the dollar more attractive to investors who have been buying stocks and commodities this year in hopes of yielding better returns.

Among other precious metals, March silver fell 9.8 cents to $17.09 an ounce, while January platinum slipped $1.80 to $1,422.70 an ounce.

Copper prices broke a six-day losing streak, rising 3 cents to $3.133 a pound.

Elsewhere on the Nymex, a sell-off in oil prices continued, with crude falling for the eighth straight day. Prices fell even after a report from the International Energy Agency said global oil demand will increase next year more than previously forecast.

After oil doubled in price from March to October, investors want to see more concrete signs that increasing demand will support higher prices.

Light, sweet crude for January delivery fell 67 cents to $69.87 a barrel.

Other energy futures were mixed. Heating oil added less than a penny to settle at $1.9085 a gallon while gasoline rose 0.65 cent to $1.8416 a gallon. Natural gas fell 13.5 cents to settle at $5.163 per 1,000 cubic feet.

On the Chicago Board of Trade, March wheat futures inched up half a cent to $5.375 a bushel, while March corn added 11.5 cents to $4.045 a bushel.

January soybeans rose 8 cents to $10.35 a bushel.

Coffee and cocoa fell, while sugar rose.

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Gold failed to hold on to early gains Friday, falling for the fifth time in six days as the dollar strengthened.Other metals and energy futures were mixed. Agriculture futures were slightly higher.Gold for February delivery lost $6.30 to settle at $1,119.90 an ounce on the...
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