Metals Slump After Dollar Rallies On ECB Comments

By The Associated Press

Palladium led declines for metals, after the head of the European Central Bank expressed concern over the rise in the euro. That prompted the currency to weaken and the dollar to rally.

The price of Palladium for March delivery slumped $14.35, or 1.9 percent, to $750.45 an ounce, its biggest decline in a month.

ECB president Mario Draghi pledged Thursday to keep a close eye on the impact that the strength of the euro will have on the region's economy. A strong euro hurts the export prospects of the 17 countries in the common currency zone by making its exports more expensive.

"Today it was all about the ECB, and the markets right now are simply digesting the comments from Mario Draghi," said Matt Zeman a trader at Kingsview Financial.

Commodities are typically traded in dollars, so when the currency strengthens, traders demand fewer dollars. That pushes down commodity prices. The dollar index, a broad measure of the strength of the U.S. currency, rose 0.6 percent Thursday, its biggest advance in a month.

Gold, silver, copper and platinum also fell.

April gold fell $7.50, or 0.4 percent, to $1,671 an ounce. Silver for March delivery dropped 47.40 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $31.403 an ounce. Platinum for April delivery fell $14.20, or 0.8 percent, $1,722.30.

Draghi also said the risks for the European economies that share the euro continue to be on the "downside." Copper, which has many industrial uses and tracks global economic growth, fell. March copper dropped 1.35 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $3.7270 a pound.

Oil also fell as the dollar strengthened. Benchmark crude dropped 79 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $95.83.

In grains trading, wheat for March delivery fell 5.5 cents to $7.56 a bushel. Corn for March also dropped, falling 11.75 cents to $7.1075 a bushel.

Soybeans for March delivery dropped a fraction of a cent to end at $14.8675 a bushel.

In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline for March fell 3.98 cents to $2.9999 per gallon. Natural gas for the same month fell 13 cents to $3.2850 per 1,000 cubic feet. Heating oil for March gained 1.37 cents to finish at $3.1995 a gallon.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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