Dollar dives to record euro low; oil and gold score record highs

LONDON, Feb 27, 2008 (AFP) – The dollar plunged Wednesday to another record euro low thanks to a stream of negative US data, while the tumbling greenback helped crude oil and gold prices hit historic highs, analysts said. The US currency also slid ahead of US Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke’s testimony before Congress later Wednesday, when he is expected to signal further rate cuts to try to prevent a recession in the world’s largest economy.

In early European deals, the euro touched a record 1.5088 dollars, after smashing through the 1.50 barrier for the first ever time on Tuesday. It later stood at 1.5048 dollars, from 1.4979 dollars in New York late on Tuesday.

Against the Japanese currency, the dollar fell to 106.41 yen from 107.24.

In commodity markets, renewed US currency weakness sent gold prices surging to a record peak of 964.99 dollars per ounce, while New York crude oil hit an all-time pinnacle of 102.08 dollars a barrel.

The weak US currency boosts prices of dollar-denominated raw materials because it makes them cheaper for buyers using stronger currencies, which tends to encourage demand, traders said.

“The euro is trading above 1.50 against the dollar for the first time since the