NEW YORK (AP) _ Gold prices rallied for a second session Wednesday after the dollar sank and crude oil prices spiked — inflationary signs that pointed investors to the relative safety of precious metals.
Other commodities traded mostly higher, with copper, silver and soybean futures all gaining.
The dollar slid further against the euro following a new round of dismal U.S. economic data: The Commerce Department reported that new homes sales fell to the slowest pace in 12 years, while orders for big-ticket manufactured goods dropped for the second consecutive time. The euro bought $1.5756 in Wednesday trading.
Declines in the dollar typically feed buying of gold since the metal is know for holding its value. A weak greenback also makes dollar-denominated commodities like gold appear cheaper to overseas buyers.
"Everything is predicated on the dollar right now," said Kevin Grady, a gold trader with MF Global in New York. "There's a tremendous amount of dollars on the market and that constant flood of money is going to keep gold prices high."
Gold for April delivery added $14 to fetch $949 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gold rose as high as $952.50, its highest level in a week.
Other precious metals also moved higher. May silver surged 47 cents to $18.270 an ounce on the Nymex, while May copper added 4.3 cents to $3.7215 a pound.
The gains suggest metals have broken out of last week's commodities slump. Gold last week fell more than 10 percent from its record high of $1,033.90, beaten down amid a massive sell-off in futures prompted by liquidating hedge funds and a stronger dollar.
"It just goes to show that this movement in commodities is not over," Grady said, adding that gold could make another run for $1,000.
"There's definitely inflation in the market and until that subsides, you're going to see higher gold and crude prices," he said.
In energy markets, crude futures shot up Wednesday after the dollar's fall and lower-than-expected fuel inventories renewed buying of energy futures.
Supplies of gasoline and distillates, which include heating oil and diesel fuel, fell more than analysts had expected, while crude inventories remained the same.
Light, sweet crude for May delivery rose $3.69 to $104.91 a barrel on the Nymex.
Other energy futures also rose. April gasoline futures gained 2.82 cents to $2.7084 a gallon, while April heating oil futures added 10.52 cents to $3.0303.
In agriculture markets, an ongoing farmers' strike in Argentina slowed exports from the South American country, sending soybean prices soaring.
Soybeans for May delivery jumped 38 cents to $13.45 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade, after earlier rising as high as $13.44 a bushel.
Other agriculture futures traded mixed. Wheat for May delivery dropped 27.5 cents to $10.40 a bushel on the CBOT, while May corn rose 5 cents to $5.4975 a bushel.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.