Gold prices rose Wednesday for the second straight day as oil continued to drop, albeit slightly, while major US indexes were flat. New York silver, gold and platinum futures gained 2.0 percent, 1.1 percent and 0.1 percent.
March crude-oil fell 31 cents, or 0.9 percent, to close at $34.62 a barrel. The average price for regular unleaded gasoline fell three-tenths of cent to $1.957 a gallon, according to AAA.
March silver rose 28 cents to close to $14.29 an ounce.
April platinum gained 60 cents to $1,098.90 an ounce
Gold for February climbed $10.70 to end at $977.70 an ounce. The yellow metal is about $26 below its March 2008 record high.
"Investor confidence is extremely shaky," Matt Zeman, a metals trader at LaSalle Futures Group in Chicago, was quoted on Bloomberg.com. "People are still flocking to gold for its perceived safety."
"The US Mint ended up selling 860,500 ounces to investors last year, and of that figure, 413,000 ounces were sold in the last quarter of 2008," said Jon Nadler, senior analyst at Kitco Bullion Dealers.
"While the more than 24 tonne 2008 figure is certainly impressive, consider a few other numbers for perspective of the proper kind, especially when reading about ‘unprecedented’ demand in many a newsletter. For example, in just one month (Nov. 1986) the Mint sold 626,000 + ounces to investors," Nadler added.
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.
In spot trading, the London afternoon gold-fixing price — a benchmark for gold traded directly between big institutions — stood at $964.00 an ounce. London silver and platinum were at $14.05 and $1,087.00, respectively.