gold and platinum hit highs as dollar falls

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    Article in FT>>>

    Gold and platinum hit highs as dollar falls
    By Kevin Morrison
    Published: December 8 2003 11:47 | Last Updated: December 8 2003 11:47

    Metal prices including gold, platinum and nickel all reached multi-year highs on Monday as the US dollar slipped further against other large currencies.

    Gold was trading at $408.50/$409.00 a troy ounce, up more than $2 from Friday's late quote, the highest point since February 1996. Bullion prices would need to rise to $417.70 a troy ounce to break its 1996 peak. The London morning fix was $408.75, its highest in nearly eight years.

    Platinum prices were $1 short of touching the $800 a troy ounce level, a point on broken since 1980. Analysts expect platinum to meet resistance at the $800 level.

    Investors have increased their exposure to gold. The latest trading report from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission showed speculators are net long at 18.4m ounces, or 1m ounces more than last week's record high.

    "Gold continues to take support from the currency markets," said John Reade, precious metals analyst at UBS.

    Mr Reade said that UBS continued to expect gold to perform well in 2004. The Swiss-based bank forecasts an average of $420 an ounce, and a year-end target of $445. It forecasts a 2004 range of between $370 and $470.

    Nickel prices were just shy of the $13,000 a tonne level, a point unseen since 1989. Three-month nickel prices were quoted at $12,980 a tonne in early morning trade.

    Oil prices were also firmer. IPE Brent for January delivery gained 34 cents to $29.08 a barrel. January Nymex WTI advanced 30 cents to $31.03 a barrel in electronic trade. Colder weather in the north-east of the US boosted US heating oil prices, which in turn boosted crude prices.

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