Gold and silver prices closed higher Tuesday as traders picked up contracts that have steadily lost value over the past several days.
Gold for December delivery rose $23.80, or 1.4 percent, to settle at $1,702.40 per ounce. December silver gained $1.835, or nearly 6 percent, to close at $32.951 an ounce.
Precious metal prices had been falling along with other metals in recent days. Last week gold lost 3 percent and silver fell nearly 7 percent. Prices fell partly because traders became less worried about inflation. Traders were more worried that debt problems in the United States and Europe would slow economic growth. Slower growth tends to restrain inflation.
Industrial metals also rose after prices fell sharply last week. Prices for metals like copper and palladium declined last week because traders thought a weak economy would reduce demand for raw materials at the world's factories.
December palladium rose $15.35, or nearly 3 percent, to close at $601.15 an ounce. January platinum gained $27.20, or nearly 2 percent, to settle at $1,571 an ounce. Copper for December delivery rose 3 cents, or nearly 1 percent, to $3.333 per pound.
Crop prices also rose. Corn for December delivery rose 1.25 cents, or 2 percent, to settle at $5.99 per bushel. December soybeans gained 5 cents, or less than 1 percent, to close at $11.53 a bushel. December wheat rose 2.5 cents, or less than 1 percent, to finish at $5.94 per bushel.
In energy trading, benchmark crude oil gained $1.09 to end at $98.01 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Heating oil rose 4.03 cents to finish at $3.0346 per gallon. Gasoline futures rose 7.28 cents to close at $2.5618 per gallon and natural gas gained 0.3 cents to close at $3.561 per 1,000 cubic feet.