HONG KONG, March 14, 2008 (AFP) – Global commodities markets were bubbling on Friday after gold briefly peaked over 1,000 dollars an ounce, oil hit new highs and the dollar tumbled to a record low against the euro. In Asian markets Friday Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index opened up 1.05 percent after a 4.8 percent fall the previous day, while Japanese share prices were mixed in morning trade. Hong Kong gold prices opened higher and edged towards the symbolic 1,000 US dollars an ounce mark breached for the first time Thursday on the London Bullion Market.
The plunging dollar and the precious metal’s traditional role as a safe haven amid fears of rising inflation have caused gold prices to surge about 17 percent so far this year.
Investors are funnelling cash into commodities generally as they seek a refuge from volatile world stock markets and growing fears of a US-led economic slowdown, traders said.
On Friday Hong Kong gold prices opened markedly higher at 994.00-994.50 US dollars an ounce, up from Thursday’s close of 987.10-987.60 dollars.
Oil simmered down on Friday after hitting a record 111.00 dollars per barrel on Thursday, but analysts said prices remained on the boil due to the ailing greenback