Commodity prices fall as Dubai fears boost dollar

AP News
Posted: Nov 27, 2009 5:03 PM

Gold prices fell for the first time in 10 days and oil slid as jitters over debt problems in the Middle Eastern city of Dubai drove the dollar higher and pounded stocks.

Investors grew worried this week that the emirate's government-backed investment company was in danger of defaulting on $60 billion in debt. The city's main investment arm said it was seeking more time to repay its borrowings. Overseas markets fell Thursday and Friday. U.S. markets were closed Thursday for Thanksgiving but the Dow Jones industrial average tumbled 155 points in a holiday-shortened session Friday.

The drop in riskier assets like stocks fanned demand for safe-haven investments, including the dollar. Commodities are priced in dollars and tend to fall when the dollar strengthens because that makes them more expensive for foreign investors.

Gold for February delivery fell $13.10 to settle at $1,755.50 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Investors have been pumping money into gold looking for protection from a falling dollar, which had lost its luster in recent months because record-low U.S. interest rates made unattractive returns and because fear had been easing about the global economy.

Other metals fell alongside gold.

March silver slid 46.5 cents to $18.335 an ounce, while March copper futures fell 7.15 cents to $3.1255 a pound.

December platinum fell $32.10 to $1,446.90 an ounce.

The ICE Futures US dollar index, a widely used measure of the dollar's value against other currencies, rose.

Energy prices also fell.

Benchmark crude for January delivery fell $1.91 to settle at $76.05 on the New York Mercantile Exchange after falling more than $5 during trading.

Also at the Nymex, gasoline for December delivery fell 7.14 cents to $1.9262 a gallon. Heating oil slid 2.79 cents to $1.9622 a gallon. Natural gas for January delivery rose 2.9 cents to $5.192 per 1,000 cubic feet.

On the Chicago Board of Trade, March wheat futures fell 1.75 cents to $5.6975 a bushel, while March corn rose $5.50 to $4.135 a bushel.

January soybeans fell 1.5 cents to $10.53 a bushel.

Prices for cotton, coffee, cocoa and pork bellies fell. Orange juice and sugar rose.