Metals mixed as dollar falls; Oil drops sharply

A weaker dollar helped lift gold and other precious metals Tuesday, but industrial metals and oil prices slumped.
Gold for December delivery rose $2.30 to $946 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange, recouping some of the previous day's losses as the dollar dipped against other currencies. Gold is used as a hedge against inflation and a weak greenback, and demand for it tends to pick up when the dollar falls.
Industrial metals, however, fell slightly. Copper futures fell 5.7 cents to $2.8735 a pound. Aluminum prices also declined.
The mixed trade came despite upbeat reports on housing and consumer confidence. The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence index rose more than expected in August, while the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller's U.S. National Home Price Index posted a quarter-over-quarter increase during the April-June period for the first time in three years. The day's news sent stocks moderately higher.
Metals prices have wavered recently, trading in a fairly tight range amid lingering doubts about the strength of the economy.
At the same time, some cooling off in buying has been expected, analysts say, after prices for copper, silver and aluminum ran up double-digit percentage gains in just a few weeks. Despite the dip on Tuesday, copper is still up 30 percent since early July. Aluminum is up 24.5 percent.
Prices for commodities raced higher this summer as investors bet that demand would increase as the economy improved, but investors have begun to question just how soon the economy will return to health.
Other precious metals rose in tandem with gold. Silver added 11.5 cents to $14.3460 an ounce. Palladium also rose.
October platinum slipped 30 cents to finish at $1,247.80 an ounce.
Meanwhile, oil prices sank on the Nymex, retreating after briefly touching $75 a barrel for the first time in 10 months. Prior to trading Tuesday, prices had climbed 8.1 percent in 5 days, so analysts said some pullback in prices was to be expected. Though prices have rallied this summer on an improving economic outlook, traders are still fearful that the strength of the economy's rebound won't be as strong as many have been betting.
On Wednesday, the government will release its weekly report on crude supply levels. A surprise drop last week touched off oil's latest surge.
Light, sweet crude for October delivery tumbled $2.32 to settle at $72.02 a barrel.
In other Nymex trading, gasoline for September delivery fell 4.21 cents to $2.007 a gallon and heating oil fell 6.75 cents to $1.8559 a gallon.
Natural gas fell 4.1 cents to $2.882 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Grain prices stumbled on the Chicago Board of Trade.
Corn for December delivery fell 8.75 cents to $3.2675 a bushel, while November soybeans lost 8.5 cents to $9.99 a bushel.
December wheat futures dipped less than a penny to $4.9875 a bushel
Cotton and coffee prices also fell.

Updated : 2021-01-28 22:51 GMT+08:00