By Claudia Assis and Sarah Turner, MarketWatch
SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — Gold futures traded higher on Wednesday, shaking off early weakness as the dollar came off its highs, and silver futures rallied more than 4%.
Gold for June delivery GCM11 +0.11% added $3.40, or 0.2%, to $1,526.70 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. That was gold’s best settlement since May 3.
August gold GCQ11 +0.11% , the contract with the most open interest but less volume, added $3.50 to settle at $1,527.80 an ounce.
Gold benefitted from ongoing concerns about Greece’s debt and its implications for the euro zone.
“Gold continues to have a safety bid,” said Frank Lesh, a broker and futures analyst with FuturePath Trading in Chicago.
Silver futures rallied 4.2%, with the July contract SIN11 +4.93% settling at $37.64 an ounce, the highest for the metal since May 10.
Silver was more of a speculator market, Lesh said. It was getting a push from smaller investors priced out of gold above $1,500 an ounce, particularly after its recent selloff, he added.
“Silver continues to function as the poor man’s gold,” Lesh said.
Investors on Wednesday grappled with news U.S. durable-good orders were sharply lower in April, rekindling worries of an economic slowdown and providing another leg of support for gold.
“We think that gold will remain well supported in the short term amid small-scale safe haven buying, and still in the absence of a substantial pick-up in physical demand,” analysts at VTB Capital in London said in a note to clients.
Gold rose $7.90 on Tuesday on worries surrounding Europe’s sovereign-debt situation. Read story on Tuesday's gold moves.
Meanwhile, the Bombay Bullion Association said it expects India’s gold imports to reach a record level of 1,000 metric tons this year if the monsoon season is good, analysts at Commerzbank wrote in a note to clients.
“Strong monsoon rainfall increases the income of the rural population, who are major buyers of gold jewelry in the world’s largest gold consumer country,” they said. Gold imports are likely to be 40-50 tons in May, but that’s 30% lower than the previous month, the analysts added.
The dollar index DXY +0.04% , which measures the greenback against a basket of six currencies, traded at 75.930 from 75.915 in late North American trading on Tuesday, as the euro pared losses against the U.S. currency. Read more on currencies
July copper HGN11 +2.26% rose 9 cents, or 2.3%, to $4.11 a pound, ending in the black for the second day.
Platinum and palladium also settled higher, with July platinum PLN11 +1.11% rising $17.30, or 1%, to $1,779.80 an ounce.
Palladium for June delivery PAM11 +1.87% rose $12.10, or 1.7%, to $747.35 an ounce.
Claudia Assis is a San Francisco-based reporter for MarketWatch.
Sarah Turner is MarketWatch's bureau chief in Sydney.