Oil, gold and silver surge on Middle East unrest

Steve Dinneen
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Brent crude oil prices surged to more than $105 a barrel for the first time since 2008 yesterday on worries that spiralling violence in Libya could disrupt oil exports.

Fears also mounted that protests could spill into other oil-producing countries, with Iran the next big question mark.

Brent futures, which have climbed more than $10 this year, jumped $3.23 a barrel or 3.2 per cent, to hit $105.06 – their highest point since September 2008.

Gold prices rose above $1,400 an ounce for the first time in nearly seven weeks as demand for the precious metal boomed as a haven from risk. US gold futures for April delivery rose $18.90 an ounce to $1,407.50.

Bullion has risen 3.5 per cent over six days of gains, its longest winning streak since August.

Other precious metals also rallied, with silver touching its highest level in 31 years and palladium hitting a 10-year peak. Silver outperformed gold, with the number of silver ounces needed to buy an ounce of gold dropping to around 42, a near 13-year low. Silver hit a high of $33.76 before falling back to $33.70 an ounce in later trading.