Gold hits record on growth fears; oil, metals firm
SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Gold climbed to an all-time high for a fourth straight session on Tuesday as investors continued to fret about the health of the global economy, while industrial metals were propelled by data showing China's factory output remains robust.
Brent crude edged higher towards $109 as continued fighting in Libya surprised the market and Chicago new-crop corn hit a contract high on more than expected decline U.S. crop ratings.
The precious metal is headed for a seventh straight session of gains and a monthly rise of more than 16 percent, the highest since September 1999 as worries about U.S. and European economies burnished bullion's safe-haven appeal.
"We are not hearing much good news out of Europe or the United States," said Darren Heathcote, head of trading at Investec Australia.
"The picture looks pretty bleak in the short term... For the time being investors are happy looking at gold as safe haven in these troubled times, and will continue to do so until we see something positive and sustainable."
Spot gold gained 0.8 percent to strike an unprecedented $1,911.46 an ounce, before losing some of the gains to trade at $1,899.15 by 6:46 a.m. British time.
U.S. gold rose 1.4 percent to a record high of $1,917.90, and retraced to $1,903.
CHINA PMI, EUROPEAN DATA
Most markets extended gains after the Chinese flash PMI from HSBC, designed to preview China's factory output before official data, which showed the index edging up to 49.8 in August from July's final reading of 49.3.
That left the index just below the 50-point mark which separates expansion from contraction, but HSBC itself believes a reading as low as 48.0 in China would still point to an annual growth of 12-13 percent in industrial output and 9 percent in GDP.
"The Chinese PMI released this morning was certainly encouraging and suggesting that things have not deteriorated any further in China," said Citigroup analyst David Thurtell.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange rose 1 percent to $8,806 a tonne by 0546 GMT, after falling 1.2 percent in the previous session.
The most-active November copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange rose 0.7 percent to 66,360 yuan per tonne, after falling 0.7 percent on Monday.
The markets will be eying European purchasing manager surveys due later in the day, and a speech by U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke on Friday, for direction.
In the oil market, there were concerns over continued fighting in Libya following hopes on Monday for a quick resolution and a speedy restart in exports from the OPEC member.
Remnants of forces still loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi fought rebels in Tripoli on Tuesday, extending a conflict that looked close to conclusion on Monday after rebels swept into Tripoli in tandem with an uprising within the city.
Brent crude rose 54 cents to $108.9 a barrel. U.S. October crude was up 66 cents to $85.08 a barrel ahead of an inventory report that is expected to show a drop in U.S. crude stocks last week.
"It could take months before oil can start to flow again from Libya," said John Vautrain, a director at energy consulting firm Purvin & Gurtz.
"I think there was a lot of euphoria on Monday. But the whole country is not completely pacified yet and we don't have an organised government. A lot is lacking."
In grains, Chicago new-crop corn climbed to a contract high while soybeans rose to a near one-month top as the condition of the U.S. corn and bean crops continued to slide, raising concerns over supplies.
Wheat extended gains to trade near a two-month top on signs that high quality global milling wheat stocks are shrinking amid reports of low spring wheat production in the United States.
Chicago Board of Trade front-month September wheat rose 0.8 percent to $7.41 a bushel, not far from Monday's more than two-month high of $7.48 a bushel.
December corn gained 0.8 percent to $7.40 a bushel, a contract high, and November soy rose 0.4 percent to $13.90- a bushel, the highest since July 27.
(Additional reporting by Rujun Shen; Editing by Himani Sarkar)
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