Gold extends record run higher, oil rises as dollar falters
Gold prices nailed fresh record highs, silver struck an all-time peak and crude oil futures climbed as the dollar faltered during a shortened trading week for commodity investors.
The dollar stumbled further on Thursday as official data showed US economic growth slowed sharply in the first quarter to a 1.8 percent pace. The euro struck 16 month highs close to $1.49, also after the US Federal Reserve held its easy monetary policy.
A weak US currency makes commodities priced in dollars cheaper for holders of rival currencies, pushing up the demand for the raw materials.
Commodities trading was meanwhile shortened this week, and last owing to the Easter celebrations and britain's extra break on Friday due to its royal wedding.
Trading will resume on Tuesday, after Britain's traditional May Day bank holiday.
PRECIOUS METALS: Gold struck an all-time peak above $1,538 an ounce as investors continued to scoop up the traditional safe-haven precious metal, while sister metal silver also hit a record high.
Gold reached a historic $1,538.48 on the London Bullion Market on Thursday, after silver knocked up a best ever $49.79 an ounce at the start of the week.
Analysts said the Federal Reserve's decision Wednesday to hold US interest rates at 0-0.25 percent "for an extended period" benefited gold.
"The prospect of the highly expansionary monetary course being adhered to brought the dollar under strong pressure, and precious metals were the main beneficiaries," analysts at Commerzbank wrote in a note to clients.
"Demand for these as a store of value was substantial."
Gold in particular is seen as a safe store of value in troubled economic and political times and has been smashing records in recent weeks in response to rising global inflation.
By late Thursday on the London Bullion Market, gold jumped to $1,535.50 an ounce from $1,504 the previous Thursday.
Silver rallied to $48.70 an ounce from $46.02.
On the London Platinum and Palladium Market, platinum increased to $1,835 an ounce from $1,812.
Palladium gained to $777 an ounce from $765.
OIL: World oil prices gained, with New York crude reaching 2.5-year highs, as traders tracked the cloudy economic picture in the United States, the biggest crude-consuming nation.
Crude oil prices began rising strongly on Wednesday on the back of the Federal Reserve's decision to continue pursuing an exceptionally supportive monetary policy.
Citing the economy's "moderate" recovery, the central bank kept the door open for more economic stimulus, while saying its current $600 billion programme would be allowed to run its forecast course through June.
By late Thursday on London's Intercontinental Exchange, Brent North Sea crude for delivery in June climbed to $125.35 a barrel from $123.47 the previous Thursday.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) or light sweet crude for June grew to $112.64 a barrel from $111.71.
BASE METALS: Industrial metals prices mostly fell amid rising stockpiles.
By late Thursday on the London Metal Exchange (LME), copper for delivery in three months dropped to $9,384 a tonne from $9,648 on Thursday the previous week.
Three-month aluminium rose to $2,770 a tonne from $2,747.
Three-month lead dropped to $2,493 a tonne from $2,626.
Three-month tin retreated to $32,150 a tonne from $32,625.
Three-month zinc slipped to $2,238 a tonne from $2,366.
Three-month nickel declined to $26,613 a tonne from $26,651.
COCOA: Prices rebounded as the market tracked the situation in leading producer Ivory Coast.
The country's new President Alassane Ouattara made his first visit to the presidential palace Thursday since taking power after the toppling of strongman Laurent Gbagbo.
"Not only is the weather outlook shaping up to be more favourable for healthy cocoa harvests in Ivory Coast... the country confirmed that the first cocoa shipment has left the port since the seizure of its incumbent president," said Barclays Capital analyst Shiyang Wang.
By Thursday on LIFFE, London's futures exchange, cocoa for delivery in July rose to £1,961 a tonne from £1,896 the previous Thursday.
In New York on the NYBOT-ICE, cocoa for July climbed to $3,277 a tonne from $3,084.
COFFEE: Coffee prices struck 34-year highs for a second week running on tight supplies, reaching 303.40 cents a pound in New York.
"A weak US dollar and tightening Arabica supplies provided a boost for the market," said commodities publication Public Ledger.
By Thursday on NYBOT-ICE, Arabica for July advanced to 301.95 US cents a pound from 298.20 cents the previous Thursday.
On LIFFE, Robusta for delivery in July stood at $2,560 a tonne compared with $2,426 for the May contract.
SUGAR: Sugar prices retreated on the prospect of increased supplies.
"India is considering releasing further sugar exports as soon as final sugar production figures are available," said Commerzbank analysts.
By Thursday on NYBOT-ICE, the price of unrefined sugar for delivery in July slid to 22.26 US cents a pound from 23.13 cents the previous Thursday.
On LIFFE, the price of a tonne of white sugar for August dropped to £610.60 from £627.70.
© 2011 AFP