Gold, other metals hold gains as dollar rises

AP News
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Posted: Nov 17, 2009 5:07 PM

A stronger dollar is keeping a lid on metals prices.

Gold, silver and copper were little changed Tuesday, a day after hitting new highs, while energy and agriculture futures rose slightly.

Commodities paused from their recent surge as the dollar gained ground and made them more expensive to foreign buyers. The ICE Futures US dollar index, a widely used gauge of the dollar against other currencies, jumped 0.7 percent in afternoon trading after European Central Bank president Jean-Claude Trichet voiced support for a strong greenback.

The dollar's slide makes U.S. exports cheaper, but can hurt demand for other countries' exports by driving their currencies higher.

The Federal Reserve's low interest rate policy has weakened the dollar this year, encouraging investors to buy higher-yielding assets, including stocks, bonds and commodities. Though the dollar has occasionally moved higher, analysts say the long-term trend is still weaker, so long as the Fed keeps interest rates low. On Monday, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said he was monitoring the falling dollar, but doesn't plan to raise rates any time soon.

A weaker dollar should help support higher commodity prices going forward, but some analysts warn that the market could be getting a little overheated, considering that demand for basic materials is still anemic.

However, the fact that metals held on to their gains Tuesday in the face of a stronger dollar was a bullish sign for the market, said Adam Klopfenstein, senior market strategist at futures brokerage Lind-Waldock.

"It tells me that this trend is still intact," said, adding that he sees gold climbing to $1,200 by the end of the year.

Gold prices recovered from early losses and finished the day roughly flat, settling at $1,139.40 an ounce, up 20 cents from Monday's close on the New York Mercantile Exchange. December gold futures jumped to a fresh record of $1,144.20 on Monday.

Other metals were little changed as well. December silver dipped 1.3 cents to $18.387 an ounce, while December copper futures inched up less than half a cent to $3.133 a pound.

December platinum was the exception, jumping $17.90 to $1,459.30 an ounce.

Elsewhere on the Nymex, light, sweet crude for December delivery added 24 cents to $79.14 a barrel. Gasoline futures rose 1.81 cents to $2.0049 a gallon, while heating oil futures rose 2.65 cents to $2.0585 a gallon.

On the Chicago Board of Trade, March wheat futures rose 12.75 cents to $5.965 a bushel, while January soybeans rose 19.5 cents to $10.295 a bushel.

March corn was unchanged at $4.175 a bushel.

Among other soft commodities, January sugar dipped 0.09 cent to 22.53 cents per pound. December cocoa fell $6 to $3,086 a ton, while December coffee futures shed 0.6 cent to $1.3575 a pound.