Metal prices surge on European bailout plan

AP News
Posted: Oct 27, 2011 4:04 PM
Metal prices surge on European bailout plan

Metal prices surged Thursday on news of a financial bailout plan in Europe.

Some metal prices, like copper, were up as much as 6 percent. The rally happened after European officials announced they had crafted the broad outlines of a plan to shore up banks and indebted nations there.

Traders have been anticipating news of a possible deal after European officials met Wednesday. News of the package was released early Thursday. The full program is expected to be finalized by early December.

The news also drove gold and silver prices higher because traders think the European bailout could create inflation. The plan calls for more money to be pumped into European banks and heavily indebted countries, which could lower currency values. Investors buy precious metals to protect against inflation.

Gold for December delivery rose $24.20, or 1.4 percent, to settle at $1,747.70 an ounce Thursday. December silver was up $1.802, or 5.4 percent, to close at $35.112.

Industrial metals like copper and palladium rose because traders think the bailout could help contain Europe's financial woes. That would boost economic growth, and increase demand for raw materials. Industrial metals prices also rose because of news that the U.S. economy expanded at an annual rate of 2.5 percent in the July-September quarter, the strongest growth in a year.

Copper for December delivery gained 20.2 cents, or nearly 6 percent, to settle at $3.692 a pound. December palladium jumped $23.85, or almost 4 percent, to $669.90 an ounce. January platinum gained $44.20 to finish at $1,641.40 an ounce.

Crop prices also rose. December wheat gained 24.5 cents, or nearly 4 percent, to finish at $6.44 per bushel. December corn rose 14.25 cents, or 2 percent, to end at $6.515 per bushel. November soybeans rose 24.25 cents, or nearly 2 percent, to finish at $12.44 a bushel.

Oil prices rose. Benchmark oil gained $3.76, or 4 percent, to $93.96 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Heating oil rose 8.27 cents to finish at $3.1037 per gallon, gasoline futures rose 8.19 cents to close at $2.7072 per gallon and natural gas lost 6.6 cents to close at $3.524 per 1,000 cubic feet.