Expectations that the Federal Reserve will take new steps to help the sluggish economy helped drive gold prices back above $1,800 an ounce Tuesday.
Other metals, as well as crude oil, were also higher.
Many investors and economists expect the Federal Reserve to announce a new program to drive down long-term interest rates when it wraps up a two-day meeting on Wednesday afternoon. A successful effort to boost spending and economic growth would likely lift demand for commodities.
A drop in borrowing costs alone could push up gold prices, analysts said, even without an increase in business spending. "Low interest rates are bullish for gold," said George Gero, precious metals strategist at RBC Capital Markets. Cheap lending rates stoke worries about inflation, and when traders are worried about inflation they often buy gold and crude oil.
Gold rose $30.20 to finish at $1,809.10 an ounce. The metal dropped 2 percent Monday as world stock markets sank and the dollar strengthened.
Gero said gold prices also got a lift Tuesday from a report that China's gold production has slipped this year. Also stocks rose for most of the day. That helped gold recover after it sank $35.80 on Monday, Gero said. A sharp fall in stocks can cause money managers to sell off gold and other assets to keep their mix of investments balanced.
Other metals also settled higher. Silver jumped 97.4 cents, or 2.5 percent, to end at $40.13. Platinum rose $9.90 to $1,781.90 an ounce. Palladium gained $5.65 to finish at $717.75 an ounce.
Copper was the exception among metals, falling 5 cents to $3.72.
Most grains were little changed. Wheat rose 1.75 cents to end at $6.7475 per bushel. Soybeans picked up 2 cents to finish at $13.38 per bushel. Corn lost 2 cents at $6.9025 per bushel.
In energy trading benchmark crude rose $1.11 to end the day at $86.92 per barrel in New York. Heating oil rose 1.69 cents to finish at $2.9616 per gallon. Gasoline futures were about half a cent higher at $2.0714 a gallon. Natural gas dropped 3.1 cents to $3.798 per 1,000 cubic feet.