New York: Gold rose to a two-week high on 21 March afternoon in New York as the dollar tumbled against the euro after the Fed held interest rates steady and issued a statement that left investors believing rate hikes were less likely.
By 3:46 pm EDT (1946 GMT), spot gold was quoted at $663.10/664.10 (Rs28,914.48/Rs28,958.08), after hitting a high of $663.20 an ounce, the highest since 2 March, up from $658.40/659.40 late on 20 March.
Prior to the Fed’s decision, most-active gold futures for April delivery on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange settled up $1.00 at $660.00 an ounce. They traded between $657.50 and $662.90, the loftiest level since 2 March.
Meanwhile, the US crude oil futures ended 21 March with modest gains despite a larger-than-expected inventory increase for last week.
A bigger-than-expected drawdown in gasoline supplies buoyed crude, though gasoline dipped on light profit-taking after peaking on the heels of a domestic supply report released at midmorning.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, new front-month May crude settled up 36 cents at $59.61 (Rs2,598.44) per barrel after trading as low as $59.21. It peaked at $59.88 in overnight trade. Resistance was slated at $60, support at $56.
In London, May Brent crude settled 57 cents higher at $60.77 after trading $60.35 to $61.
In London, nickel prices fell sharply on 21 March as speculators cashed in profits after gains of some 9% last week, when the market hit record highs daily as nearby supply dried up.
London Metal Exchange nickel futures fell over 4% to a session low of $42,800 (Rs1,866,294) a tonne, extending Tuesday’s 4% slide. The metal had pared earlier losses by the close and was down $700 or 1.6% at $43,900.
Nickel had risen over 40% this year to touch a record $48,500 a tonne and there are now serious concerns prices have risen to a level where consumption could be cut.
Nickel stocks in LME warehouses rose 654 tonnes to 4,302, their highest in a month. But only 3,252 tonnes were available to the market — still less than a day’s global consumption.
Copper closed at $6,610 a tonne after dropping to a session low of $6,555, succumbing to the weaker tone in Shanghai.
Other metals were weaker. Aluminium fell to $2,750/2,755 from Tuesday’s $2,794. Tin was last quoted at $13,850/13,900, down $100, after setting a new contract high of $14,150 on Tuesday.
Lead ended at $1,915/1,920 from $1,940, while zinc fell 3.1% or $100 to $3,120.