Gold not only ended higher on Wednesday, but closed up on the year for an eighth consecutive time. Surging oil prices and a weakened U.S. dollar supported the yellow metal’s move. New York silver, gold and platinum futures gained 2.9 percent, 1.6 percent and 2.6 percent, respectively.
February crude-oil surged $5.03, or 12.9 percent, to close to $44.06 a barrel. However, oil moved down 54 percent for the year, and finished more than $100 lower from its record $147.27 a barrel on July 11.
The average price for regular unleaded gasoline rose one-tenth of a penny to $1.617 a gallon, according to AAA. The average price one year ago was $3.043 a gallon.
March silver gained 31.5 cents to close at $11.295 an ounce.
January platinum rose $23.50 to end at $941.50 an ounce.
Gold for February climbed $14.30 to settle at $884.30 an ounce.
Senior analyst Jon Nadler at Kitco Bullion Dealers provides projections for gold prices in 2009:
"The trading range will likely remain as wide as this year’s $350 while volatility will remain an integral part of daily, weekly, and monthly swings. Prices might touch $630 on the low side and $980 on the high side – however, factor in some imponderables (severe deflation and/or catastrophic geopolitical developments) and one could augment either end of the scale by $100. Barring the latter, the average gold price will likely register near $810 per ounce, following its $871 average for the current year."
Gold, considered a hedge during times of high inflation and economic uncertainty, tends to follow oil and move opposite to the U.S. dollar. A rising greenback makes dollar-denominated commodities, like bullion, more expensive for holders of other world currencies. When prices are falling and economic activities are shrinking, gold prices tend to move lower.
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