- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 14, 2009

NEW YORK (AP) - Gold prices were slightly lower Tuesday as a surprise drop in wholesale prices sapped demand for the precious metal.

Gold for June delivery slipped $3.80 to settle at $892 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Gold came under pressure following a government report that showed wholesale prices fell sharply in March, driven by declining food and energy prices. The data was a signal to investors that inflation, or an abrupt spike in prices, remains in check, said Alaron analyst Dave Meger. This hurts demand for gold, which investors often use as a hedge against inflation.

Considered a safe-haven investment, gold tends to benefit from economic uncertainty. But prices have been relatively stagnant as big gains in the stock market and a strengthening dollar have curbed demand.

On Tuesday, the dollar was mixed against other currencies, while stocks fell. Remarks from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke that the recession may be easing did little to calm investors after weak March retail sales numbers and the decline in wholesale prices. Investors are also worried that companies’ first-quarter earnings reports pouring in over the next few weeks will show further pain in the economy.

May silver slid less than a penny to $12.7650 an ounce, while July copper futures fell 1.1 cents to $2.1285 a pound.

Oil prices faltered on the Nymex as the weak economic data stirred fresh fears about sagging energy demand.

Light, sweet crude for May delivery lost 64 cents to settle at $49.41 a barrel. Gasoline for May delivery lost 0.56 cent to settle at $1.4576 a gallon and heating oil added 0.43 cent to settle at $1.4230 a gallon.

On the Chicago Board of Trade, July wheat futures fell less than 1 cent to $5.34 a bushel, while corn for July delivery rose 6.25 cents to $4.0350 a bushel.

July soybeans added 14.5 cents to $10.3025 a bushel.

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