Industrial metals prices rise on weaker dollar

AP News
Posted: Jan 23, 2012 3:27 PM
Industrial metals prices rise on weaker dollar

Industrial metal prices rose Monday as a weaker dollar makes the raw materials more expensive.

The U.S. dollar fell versus the euro Monday. That makes metals like copper and platinum more expensive because they are denominated in dollars.

The euro rose as talks progressed to ease Greece's debt crisis. European finance ministers put pressure on Greece's private creditors to reach an agreement with Athens to cut the country's massive debt load. If the creditors agree to a plan, it could help Greece reduce its debt and avoid missing a vital bond repayment deadline.

The Greek government and representatives for the private creditors said they are moving closer to a final deal.

If Greece can begin solving its debt problems, it would ease a financial crisis that has undermined the value of the euro. The euro rose about one penny to $1.30 Monday, close to its highest level against the dollar this year.

Copper for March delivery gained 5.35 cents to end at $3.7985 per pound. Last week copper rose 3 percent. March palladium rose $13.15 to $688.85 per ounce. April platinum closed up $28.80 at $1,561.10 an ounce.

In other trading, precious metals prices ended higher.

Silver for March delivery rose 59.5 cents, or nearly 2 percent, to $32.270 an ounce. Gold for February delivery gained $14.30 to end at $1,678.30 an ounce.

In energy trading, benchmark crude oil gained $1.25 to $99.58 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Heating oil rose 2.14 cents to $3.0098 per gallon, gasoline futures dropped 0.65 cents to $2.7779 per gallon and natural gas gained 18.8 cents to $2.58 per 1,000 cubic feet.

March agriculture contracts were higher.

Wheat rose 9.25 cents to end at $6.1975 per bushel, corn gained 8.5 cents to $6.20 per bushel and soybeans closed up 30.5 cents at $12.175 per bushel.