Commodities Rebound as Gold Reaches Record; Silver, Sugar Gain

Commodities Set for Fourth Weekly Loss, Gold Reaches Record
Corn sits in a Michlig AgriCenter Inc. storage facility in Sheffield, Illinois. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Commodities rebounded as silver, copper and gasoline gained on speculation that growth in developing countries will be strong enough to boost raw materials demand. Gold advanced to a record as stocks fell.

The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Index of 24 commodities rose as much as 1.5 percent, after plunging 3.3 percent yesterday. Silver futures were up 2.9 percent at 10:46 a.m. in New York, sugar rose 3.2 percent, and gasoline gained 1.7 percent. Copper advanced for the third time this week, and gold rallied as much as 3.3 percent to $1,881.40 an ounce, the highest ever.

Commodities are up 1.6 percent this year while the MSCI All-Country World Index of equities tumbled 12 percent on concern the sovereign-debt crisis is threatening global growth and demand for raw materials. Consumption of oil shows no sign of a recession, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said.

“There is a lot of risk off in global financial markets, and in that respect, commodities are in fact very resilient,” said Arne Lohmann Rasmussen, the head of rates, foreign exchange and commodities strategy at Danske Bank A/S in Copenhagen. “Copper will still be a tight market even if there is lower growth in the U.S. because of strong demand in Asia and still weak supply.”

Citigroup Inc. cut its forecasts for U.S. growth after data yesterday showed jobless claims rose and Philadelphia-area manufacturing shrank by the most since 2009. The U.S. is the largest oil consumer and second to China in use of copper.

‘Critical Mass’

“The critical mass of bad news has clearly now been reached,” Commerzbank AG said in a report today. “The situation should only change on a lasting basis once the news improves or governments and central banks do something to restore more confidence on financial markets.”

Lars Frisell, the chief economist at Sweden’s financial regulator, said it won’t take much for interbank lending to freeze. The Wall Street Journal said regulators were scrutinizing the U.S. operations of Europe’s largest lenders.

U.S. initial jobless claims climbed by 9,000 to 408,000 in the week ended Aug. 13, topping the median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg for a rise to 400,000. The Fed Bank of Philadelphia’s general economic index unexpectedly plunged to minus 30.7, the lowest level since March 2009.

Brent Stuck

“Speculation about the debt burden in European countries may trigger a new round of risk aversion,” said Thina Saltvedt, a Nordea Bank AB analyst in Oslo, who predicts Brent crude oil will be unable to rebound beyond $118 a barrel this quarter. The price was up 1.4 percent at $108.52 today.

If oil resumes its slide, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, including Saudi Arabia, may begin discussing reductions in output, Danske Bank’s Rasmussen said

Gold gained on mounting concern that governments will struggle to repay rising debt and that slower growth has spurred investors to seek the perceived safety of bullion.

“As long as the financial stress continues in equity markets and the fixed-income market, we believe we’ll see gold going higher,” Rasmussen said. “The once unthinkable $2,000 an ounce is no longer impossible. It could easily hit it over the next couple of weeks.”

Silver futures for December delivery advanced to $42.095 an ounce on the Comex in New York, and platinum climbed 1.3 percent to $1,871.40 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the 10th gain in a row.

Copper futures for December delivery rose 2.25 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $4.0085 a pound on the Comex, and gasoline advanced to $2.8326 a gallon on the Nymex.

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