Commodity prices rise with global issues in flux

AP News
Posted: Apr 08, 2011 4:17 PM
Commodity prices rise with global issues in flux

Commodities rose Friday as negotiations continued to avoid a U.S. government shutdown and concerns lingered about the growth of global inflation and violence in the Middle East and North Africa.

Investors poured money into oil, metals and agricultural products despite the uncertainty of what may lie ahead for the United States, Europe's financial problems and uprisings in Libya and neighboring countries.

An added incentive was a weaker dollar. Commodities are priced in dollars so a weaker dollar makes them more appealing to investors using other currencies.

"There's a lot of reasons that the market should be going down and it just isn't," LaSalle Futures Group analyst Matt Zeman said. "Until there is some bigger catalyst to make these things reverse course, the path of least resistance remains higher on pretty much everything."

Republicans and Democrats worked Friday to resolve differences on the federal budget. Barring an agreement or another temporary bill to keep the government operating, most of the government would start shutting down at midnight. Essential workers would stay on the job.

President Barack Obama has said a shutdown would damage the economic recovery.

Europe's top financial officials said Portugal will need about $114 billion in rescue loans to meet huge bond repayments in June. The loan package follows similar bailouts made last year to Greece and Ireland. Traders are worried that the bailout may have an impact on the Europe's economy.

The European Central Bank on Thursday said it will raise a key interest rate to help curb inflation. That followed on the heels of China's decision to raise key interest rates for the fourth time since October in its battle against inflation.

Meanwhile, rebellions continued in Libya and other countries in the oil-rich region of the Middle East and North Africa. The fighting has shut down Libya's daily exports of 1.5 million barrels of oil, which is about 2 percent of world demand.

Gold, silver and other metals settled higher. Gold for June delivery rose $14.80 to settle at $1,474.10 an ounce and May silver added $1.056 to $40.608 an ounce.

May copper added 8.5 cents to settle at $4.5015 a pound, July platinum gained $21.50 to $1,812.10 an ounce and June palladium rose $13.95 to $794.20 an ounce.

Most energy contracts also rose. Benchmark crude for May delivery gained $2.49 to settle at $112.79 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

In other Nymex contracts for May, heating oil rose 11.37 cents to settle at $3.3197 per gallon, gasoline added 7.42 cents to $3.2607 per gallon and natural gas fell 1.6 cents to $4.041 per 1,000 cubic feet.

In May agriculture contracts, wheat rose 24.25 cents to settle at $7.975 a bushel, corn added 9 cents to $7.68 a bushel and soybeans gained 28.75 cents to $13.9225 a bushel.