Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Gold, Oil, Copper All Higher as New Month Begins

Gold and oil both are advancing Wednesday as the U.S. dollar backed away from its highest levels in two weeks ahead of European officials meeting on Thursday to work on steps to keep the region's debt problems from further spreading. Copper also is higher.

Gold, in particular, has benefitted in recent days from Euro-Zone uncertainty as investors sought out presumed safe havens. At last look, February gold was up $11 to $1397.10 an ounce, the first time in more than two weeks that the yellow metal has approached the $1,400 mark.

The front-month crude oil contract is $1.27 higher at $85.37 a barrel, climbing past Tuesday's settlement price after earlier sinking to a low of $83.63 yesterday afternoon, soon after the end of the NYMEX floor session. Brent crude has followed roughly the same path in London trade overnight, with the January contract up 1.6% to $87.30 a barrel.

Copper is rising this morning after faster-than-expected manufacturing growth in China and increasing U.S. consumer confidence boosted the outlook for the global economy. The gain is boosting diversified miners, with BHP Billiton (BHP) and Rio Tinto (RIO) both climbing more than 2% in Wednesday pre-trade.

One possible limit on industrial metals today, however, could be warnings from a senior executive of JFE Steel Corp. that steel inventories in Japan are too high after an industry report this morning showed that steel stocks hit a 22-month high of 6.53 million tons at the end of October.