Forecast: Gold to Reach $1,500 an Ounce

Gold nuggets and bars, 2006/1/17 * * image restricted to news use on this subject only * * AP

Investors looking for safer places to stow their assets pushed gold to a record price above $1,400 an ounce Monday as they become more worried about the global economy.

A combination of issues have created fresh worry among investors: Ireland's debt difficulties and two key global summits where leaders of major industrial and developing nations are discussing currencies, free trade and ways to help the world economy.

Also in the back of investors' minds is the prospect of inflation stemming the Federal Reserve's multi-billion bond-buying program.

"People are really concerned again and so I think we're seeing safe-haven buying," IG Markets Inc. CEO Dan Cook said.

"Whether you're holding dollars or euros or whatever you're holding, gold is that one kind of go-to product, a commodity as well as a currency type of trade," he said. "Nobody seems to be that willing to sell out of it."

Gold for December delivery added $5.50 to settle at a record high of $1,403.20 an ounce. Some analysts believe gold could go climb as high as $1,500 an ounce by year end.

In other metals contracts for December, silver added 68.4 cents to settle at $27.432 an ounce; copper gained 0.8 cent to $3.9565 pound and palladium rose $25.50 to $710.90 an ounce. January platinum rose $2.20 to settle at $1,771.10 an ounce.

Oil prices settled at a high for the year while most of the other energy contracts also rose.

Benchmark oil for December delivery settled up 21 cents at $87.06 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Analysts think oil prices could climb to $90 a barrel by the end of the year.

In other December energy contracts on the Nymex, heating oil added 1.29 cents to settle at $2.3977 a gallon, gasoline slipped 0.15 cent to $2.1785 per gallon while natural gas gained 15.1 cents to $4.088 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Grains and beans were mixed ahead of Tuesday's U.S. Agriculture Department report updating global supply and demand estimates of major crops.

December wheat added 7.5 cents to settle $7.3625 a bushel, December corn gained 11.5 cents to $5.9925 a bushel and January soybeans lost 9.25 cents to $12.7475 a bushel.
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