Oil, gold prices dive on roller coaster ride

LONDON, March 19, 2008 (AFP) – Crude oil and gold prices plunged from recent record heights on Wednesday, as markets were rattled by concerns that ongoing global economic turmoil would dent demand for commodities, analysts said.

New York’s main oil contract, light sweet crude for delivery in April, plummeted 4.22 dollars to 105.20 dollars per barrel. The contract, which had hit a record peak of 111.80 dollars on Monday, expires at the close.

Brent North Sea crude for May sank 4.27 dollars to 101.29 dollars. It struck an all-time peak of 107.97 on Monday.

And on the London Bullion Market, the price of gold tumbled as low as 941.48 dollars per ounce. The precious metal had forged an historic pinnacle of 1,0037.70 dollars on Monday.

Earlier this week, commodity prices jumped to record heights as they were energised by the weak dollar and as investors sought safe refuge for their cash from volatile world stock markets.

At the same time, however, traders are very worried that the global credit squeeze, which erupted last August and has yet to run its course, could have a considerable negative impact on commodity demand going forward.

“We have this constant struggle between people wanting to buy oil as pe