Published: Wednesday January 12, 2011 MYT 7:18:00 AM
NEW YORK: Gold and other metals continued a rally that began Monday as investors seemed increasingly worried that debt problems in Europe are mounting.
Metals were up across the board Tuesday. Investors appeared worried about debt auctions to be offered later in the week by Spain and Portugal, said Tom Pawlicki, commodities analyst with MF Global Research in Chicago.
Gold for February delivery rose $10.20 to settle at $1,384.30 an ounce. Silver followed, with March contracts rising 63.8 cents to settle at $29.499 an ounce. April platinum rose $25.20 to settle at $1,770.30 an ounce.Industrial metals also rose. Copper for March delivery rose 8.45 cents to settle at $4.3490 a pound. Palladium for March delivery rose $34.10 to $783.75 an ounce.
The extent of Portugal's market problems will become clearer Wednesday, when the government auctions off 3-year and 9-year bonds. Poor demand or punishingly high interest rates at the auction would deepen worries about the region's financial woes.
Analysts think Portugal will raise the money, but at a heavy price. Spain is also holding a bond auction Thursday.
Corn was flat as soybean and wheat prices fell ahead of a USDA report to be released Wednesday showing updated crop production figures.
March wheat lost 7.75 cents to settle at $7.595 a bushel. Corn for March delivery was unchanged at $6.07 a bushel. Soybeans fell 23.5 cents to $13.57 a bushel.
Energy prices rose sharply after a presidential panel investigating the Gulf oil spill said the oil industry and the government need to do more to reduce the chances of another large-scale disaster.
The panel's recommendations included increasing the liability cap for damages when companies drill offshore; increasing budgets and training for the federal agency that regulates offshore drilling and lending more weight to federal scientific opinions in decisions about drilling.
The report led to speculation that the government might slow down production in the Gulf of Mexico, which would lead to higher prices.
Benchmark oil for February delivery rose $1.86 to settle at $91.11 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Heating oil fell 5.27 cents to $2.6088 a gallon, gasoline rose 2.41 cents to $2.4784 a gallon.
Natural gas rose 8.7 cents to $4.476 per 1,000 cubic feet. - AP