(MENAFN - Saudi Press Agency) Gold plunged to its lowest level since January on Wednesday as a surging dollar sapped demand for precious metals, AP reported.
Gold for June delivery lost 57.90 to settle at 1,614.10. That's a drop of 3.5 percent and the biggest one-day fall for gold since Feb. 29. Silver fell even more, losing 2.22 to 31.044 an ounce, a loss of 6.7 percent.
The dollar rose sharply against the euro and other currencies after minutes from the Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting released late Tuesday suggested that the bank wasn't ready to take more action to push interest rates lower.
The dollar reached its strongest level in almost three weeks against the euro. The euro traded at 1.31, down almost a penny from Tuesday.
With the dollar rising so much against other currencies, investors had less appetite for gold. Investors often hold precious metals when they think the value of the dollar will fall, so when the dollar rises they tend to dump metals.
Platinum for July delivery fell 61.90, or 3.7 percent, to 1,598.60 an ounce. Palladium for June delivery fell 26.85, or 4.1 percent, to 632.75 an ounce, and copper for May delivery fell 12.85 cents to 3.7905 a pound.
Prices for agricultural commodities were mixed. In May contracts, wheat fell 18.75 cents to 6.3925 a bushel, and corn fell 1.5 cents to 6.5675 a bushel. Soybeans rose 2.75 cents to 14.195 a bushel.
In energy trading, the price of benchmark U.S. crude oil fell 2.54, or 2.4 percent, to finish at 101.47 a barrel in New York. It had not closed below 102 per barrel since Feb. 15.
Heating oil fell 6.66 cents to finish at 3.1609 per gallon and gasoline futures fell 6.18 cents to 3.3336 per gallon. Natural gas dropped 4.6 cents to finish at 2.141 per 1,000 cubic feet.