Gold prices dip as dollar strengthens

AP News
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Posted: Nov 12, 2009 4:14 PM

Gold prices broke an eight-day streak of gains Thursday, retreating from record levels as the dollar recovered some lost ground against other currencies.

Oil prices fell sharply after a government report reinforced that energy demand is still weak.

Gold for December delivery gave up $8 to settle at $1,106.60 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Wednesday, gold prices soared as high as $1,119.10 an ounce.

Gold dipped as the ICE Futures U.S. dollar index, which measures the dollar against other currencies, rose 0.7 percent in afternoon trading, rebounding from a 15-month low hit Wednesday.

Gold has been taking its cue from the dollar for the past several months, rising when the U.S. currency weakens and falling when it strengthens. Investors have been fearful that a continual sharp decline in the dollar could lead to inflation, and gold is used as a hedge against inflation.

The dollar has been driven lower this year by record-low interest rates, and the Federal Reserve plans to keep them low for some time. Other countries have begun to express concern over the weakening dollar, which makes exports from non-U.S. countries more expensive.

Other metals also fell Thursday. December silver lost 27.2 cents to $17.265 an ounce, while December platinum dipped $6.40 to $1,360 an ounce.

December copper futures fell 1.8 cents to $2.973 a pound.

Energy prices tumbled after the government said oil and gas supplies grew more than expected last week. In its weekly report, the Energy Information Administration also said refineries have slowed production to the lowest levels since September 2008, and they're importing nearly 15 percent less crude than last year.

Despite evidence that demand is still weak, energy prices have been rising for much of this year due to the weaker dollar. The International Energy Agency warned Thursday that the economy could falter if energy prices continue to increase.

Light, sweet crude for December delivery dropped $2.34, or 3 percent, to $76.94 a barrel.

Heating oil lost 6.48 cents to $1.991 a gallon, while gasoline for December delivery gave up 5.22 cents to settle at $1.9405 a gallon. Natural gas for December delivery fell 13.3 cents to $4.37 per 1,000 cubic feet.

On the Chicago Board of Trade, March wheat futures inched up a quarter of a cent to $5.5225 a bushel, while corn for December delivery slipped 3.5 cents to $3.905 a bushel.

January soybeans spiked 18 cents to $9.90 a bushel.

Among other soft commodities, December coffee futures fell 2.05 cents to $1.3065 a pound. December cocoa dropped $79 to $3,073 a ton.