Strong dollar pressures gold, copper; grains rally

NEW YORK- Gold and copper closed lower on Thursday, pressured by the strong dollar and concerns over Greece¡¯s fragile economic health, while chart-based buying pushed U.S. grains higher.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Fri 23 Apr 2010, 4:24 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 9:42 AM

The euro fell close to a one-year low against the U.S. dollar after the European Union said Greece’s budget deficit was worse than feared and Moody’s cut its rating of Greek government debt. USD/¨ü

Gold has been taking cues from currency markets, watching Greece and other possible sovereign debt downgrades, traders said.

“We have asset sales across the world right now as Greece’s banks got hammered. Gold has held up really well over the course of when the dollar has been going higher,” said COMEX floor gold trader Jonathan Jossen.

Spot gold was at $1,141.95 an ounce at 1:59 p.m. EDT (1759 GMT), down from $1,145.30 late in New York on Wednesday.

U.S. June gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) settled down $5.90 at $1,142.90 an ounce.

Copper dipped as investors grew more averse to risk given Greece’s fiscal condition and slowing demand growth in top consumer China.

“The main fear right now is Greece. The problem is that once you work through Greece, you still have Portugal, Spain, Italy, Ireland ... there are a bunch of uncertainties in the EU,” said Jeff Pritchard, broker and analyst with Altavest Worldwide Trading in Mission Viejo, California.

Most-active copper for July delivery on NYMEX’s COMEX division slumped 5.10 cents, or 1.4 percent, to settle at $3.5065 per lb, after dealing between $3.4830 and $3.5530. On the London Metal Exchange, benchmark copper for three-month delivery closed at $7,692 per tonne in official rings from $7,760 at the close on Wednesday.

U.S. crude oil futures ended slightly higher after changing direction late, boosted as Wall Street stocks turned higher on positive earnings that eased investor concerns about Greece.

NYMEX crude for June delivery closed up 2 cents at $83.70 a barrel.

The 19-commodity Reuters-Jefferies CRB index settled up 0.13 percent.

Grains jump on strong charts

Wheat on the Chicago Board of Trade rallied to a one-month peak, on technical buying after earlier attempts to push the market lower failed to garner more momentum. Corn and soybeans also climbed on chart-based buying.

Wheat for May delivery closed up 11-1/4 cents at $4.98-1/2 per bushel, and may head for $5.20.

May soybeans ended up 8-3/4 cents at $10.04-1/4 per bushel while May corn closed up 3 cents at $3.62-1/4 per bushel.

U.S. cocoa futures also rallied on chart-based buying, with the benchmark second-position contract finishing the day up $52 at $3,139 per tonne, the strongest settlement in more than two months.

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