Gold, gasoline prices going higher

The cattle market saw high volume last week amid gyrating prices.
By Walt and Alex Breitinger Published: June 21, 2014
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Here is this week’s edition of Futures File, our weekly commodities wrap-up:

Gold gets boost from fed

Gold charged to a two-month high this week, fueled by help from the Federal Reserve.

Gold’s rally started shortly after Fed chair Janet Yellen indicated that the Fed was likely to continue holding interest rates near record lows. Some market watchers had been expecting the Fed to start raising rates soon to head off inflationary risk.

While the United States is not experiencing rapid inflation at this time, there are increasing concerns that the large-scale monetary stimulus and low interest rates could lead to higher inflation levels in the coming months. In an inflationary environment, the dollar loses its value relative to other assets, like gold, which investors bought aggressively after Yellen’s speech Wednesday.

Meanwhile, ongoing military conflicts in Ukraine and Iraq threaten global stability, which can encourage some investors to hold gold in lieu of other investments. Furthermore, when prices broke over $1,300 per ounce, more buyers flocked to the market, pushing prices higher yet.

By midday Friday, gold had clamored to $1,317 per ounce, giving gold its best week since early March.

Gasoline market turbocharged

Gasoline prices hit an 11-month high this week, gaining over 7 cents per gallon. The primary driver behind the rally has been the deepening conflict in Iraq, which caused the international price of crude oil to rally again this week, topping out over $115 per barrel. Domestic crude oil prices have been partially sheltered from the conflict, trading Friday near $106, but many U.S. refineries purchase oil based on global prices, meaning that international conflicts can fuel a jump in prices at the pump.