Gold, silver prices gain on inflation worries

AP News
Posted: Apr 15, 2011 4:04 PM
Gold, silver prices gain on inflation worries

Gold and silver gained on inflation worries Friday after the government said consumer prices increased last month largely due to higher food and gasoline costs.

It was the third day of higher prices for precious metals, which investors often buy as a hedge against inflation and a weak dollar. Oil topped $110 a barrel briefly while other commodities were mixed.

The Labor Department said the Consumer Price Index rose 0.5 percent in March. The index has increased 2.7 percent in the past year, which has prompted concerns that shoppers may pull back on spending and slow economic growth.

Meanwhile, new data showed China's inflation rate jumped to a 32-month high in March despite government efforts to control it. Prices rose 5.4 percent over a year ago, driven by 11.7 percent surge in food costs.

China is a huge importer of commodities, from copper to oil and soybeans. The higher prices may put pressure on the government to impose additional measures to curb inflation.

Investors are "getting increasingly concerned about inflation," said Spencer Patton, founder and chief investment officer for hedge fund Steel Vine Investments LLC.

Silver for May delivery rose 90.7 cents to settle at $42.571 an ounce. The price has jumped nearly 38 percent this year. June gold rose $13.60 to settle at $1,486 an ounce, which is 4.5 percent increase since the first of the year.

Patton and other analysts expect prices for both precious metals to continue to rise in the second quarter.

Metals used in manufacturing consumer products fell on worries that slower economic growth may reduce demand.

May copper fell 2.65 cents to settle at $4.2575 a pound, July platinum lost 80 cents to $1,794.80 an ounce and June palladium dropped $6.15 to $768.10 an ounce.

In other trading, benchmark oil for May delivery rose $1.55 to settle at $109.66 after earlier reaching $110.10 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

In other Nymex contracts for May, heating oil rose 3.52 cents to settle at $3.2242 per gallon, gasoline gained 5.45 cents to $3.2892 per gallon and natural gas fell 0.8 cent to $4.204 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Grains and beans were mixed. In May contracts, wheat added 3.75 cents to settle at $7.4425 a bushel, corn lost 12.25 cents to $7.42 a bushel and soybeans rose 0.75 cent to $13.3175 a bushel.


Associated Press reporters Christopher S. Rugaber in Washington and Joe McDonald in Beijing contributed to this report.