Commodities Update — Gold firms; Soybeans at two-week high; Base metal prices surge

RIYADH: Gold prices extended gains on Thursday after comments on future interest rate hikes by the US Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell sounded less hawkish than feared, dragging the dollar and Treasury yields lower.

Spot gold was up 0.1 percent at $1,735.77 per ounce, as of 0436 GMT, after rising 1 percent to a two-week high in the previous session. US gold futures rose 0.9 percent to $1,734.50.

Silver gains

Spot silver gained 0.5 percent to $19.22 per ounce, while platinum rose 0.1 percent to $887.49. 

Palladium climbed 0.4 percent to $2,039.77.

Grains gain

Chicago soybean futures rose for a fifth consecutive session on Thursday to their highest in more than two weeks, as hot and dry weather conditions expected in parts of the US Midwest threaten to reduce yields.

Wheat gained 1.3 percent while corn rose 0.9 percent.

The most-active soybean contract on the Chicago Board of Trade was up 1.4 percent at $14.29 a bushel, as of 0331 GMT, after climbing earlier in the session to its highest since July 11 at $14.34 a bushel.

Wheat rose 1.3 percent to $8.00-3/4 a bushel and corn gained 0.9 percent to $6.08-1/2 a bushel.

Base metals rally as less-hawkish Powell calms rate nerves

Prices of base metals rallied on Thursday, as comments by US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell eased some investor worries about the pace of rate hikes, with sentiment buoyed by a weaker dollar and hopes of further stimulus from China.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was up 1.1 percent at $7,723 a ton, as of 0147 GMT, speeding up a rally seen since last Thursday.

LME aluminum gained 1.5 percent to $2,458 a ton, while zinc climbed 1 percent to $3,086. 

Nickel was flat at $21,813, lead edged up 0.6 percent to $2,025 and tin rose 1.7 percent at $24,750 a ton.

(With input from Reuters)