14 March 2008

Gold Price at all-time High as Dollar falls further

The price of gold reached an all-time record high, trading at $ 1000 per ounce for the first time.
This follows a constant rise of the gold price for months, pushed ever higher by a weak US Dollar and fears about the decline of the US economy.

Concerns about a possible US recession lead investors to buy up commodities such as gold as an alternative to company shares and the US Dollar itself. Since the beginning of the year the value of gold has increased by about 20%, after it rose 32% in 2007.

After reaching the $ 1000 mark, the gold price eventually settled for the day at $ 993.80, up $ 13.30 an ounce.

Gold is measured and sold in troy ounces. One troy ounce equals 31.1035 grams or 480 grains. One troy ounce is also equal to 1.09711 avoirdupois ounce - widely used to measure weights in the US and UK.

Analysts say that gold will stay high as long as dollar and growth fears remain.

Meanwhile the US Dollar fell further in value yesterday against key currencies, including the Euro and Japanese Yen. At one point, it was worth less than 100 Yen for the first time since 1995, while it reached new depths against the Euro at $ 1.5645.

Analysts are predicting that it could fall even further as more details emerge of the losses suffered by banks and hedge funds due to investments centred on the troubled US housing market. Already many companies have unveiled billions of dollars of losses which has caused credit markets to freeze and has created an environment where there is less money available for consumers and businesses to borrow.

At the same time, there are increasing signs that the USA is on the brink of recession, and some analyst believe that the United States are actually in recession already. Official data out on Wednesday showed disappointing retail sales in February. This has added to a recent drum beat of bad news, including a shrinking of the service sector in January and February, and unemployment rates at the highest level for five years.

Despite aggressive interest rate cuts and White House measures to stimulate consumer spending, it is expected that US interest rates - currently at 3% - will have to come down further.

Analysts say that this will weaken the dollar even further and accelerate inflation.

The oil price surged to a new high above $ 110 a barrel
as well, while agricultural commodities, including cocoa and coffee, also rose further.

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