Gold sets new record of $1,143 as dollar falls

AP News
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Posted: Nov 16, 2009 4:10 PM

Gold kept up its record-setting pace Monday, hitting a fresh high of more than $1,140 an ounce as the dollar tumbled.

The weaker dollar also helped push other metals like copper and silver sharply higher, and oil prices rebounded from their lowest levels in a month. Dollar-denominated commodities become cheaper for foreign buyers when the dollar falls.

December gold futures settled up $22.50, or 2 percent, at $1,139.20 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange and touched a new high of $1,144.20 in after-hours trading.

Once again, a falling dollar triggered the advance, but more buyers piled on as the price kept rising.

"The gains build upon themselves," said Dave Meger, vice president and director of metals trading at Vision Financial Markets.

The ICE Futures US dollar index, which measures the dollar against other currencies, dropped 0.9 percent in afternoon trading. The dollar has weakened consideraby this year as the Federal Reserve kept interest rates at a record low of near zero, driving investors to look for other places to park their money. Gold in particular has benefited from the weak dollar since it's seen as a good hedge against a falling dollar and inflation. Analysts say gold's surge is also being driven by a wave of short-term, speculative buying.

Gold prices have jumped 25 percent, or more than $200, since early July. The sharp, quick rise is reminiscent of oil's rapid climb last summer to $147 a barrel. Less than a year later oil prices had lost more than half their value as fears of a global economic slowdown drove investors from the market.

Meger said such a precipitous drop in gold is possible, but he thinks it's not likely that it's run its course just yet.

"At this point, there does not seem to be a whole lot of impetus to be selling the metal," he said. "This is not a market to stand in front of."

Silver and copper also hit highs on Monday. December silver rose to a 16-month high of $18.45, before settling up $1.02 at $18.40 an ounce. December copper futures rose 12.9 cents, or 4.3 percent, to settle at $3.1285 a pound. Earlier, copper rose as high as $3.1525 a pound, their highest level since September 2008.

December platinum soared $55.90 to $1,441.40 an ounce. Palladium jumped 6.2 percent.

Elsewhere on the Nymex, oil for December delivery rallied $2.55, or 3.3 percent, to settle at $78.90 a barrel.

Heating oil rose 6.59 cents to $2.0320 a gallon, while gasoline for December delivery gained 7.06 cents to settle at $1.9868 a gallon.

Natural gas for December delivery advanced 22.2 cents to settle at $4.614 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Grain prices also rose sharply. On the Chicago Board of Trade, March wheat futures jumped 24 cents, or 4.3 percent, to $5.8375 a bushel, while March corn rose 11.75 cents, or 2.9 percent, to $4.1750 a bushel.

January soybeans gained 23 cents, or 2.3 percent, to $10.10 a bushel.