Debt Downgrade Moves Investors To Precious Metals

For the first time, the price of gold soared to a record high of $1,700 an ounce in Hong Kong. Gold prices are up 21 percent so far this year. The price of silver also rose, and was up more than 5 percent on the Asian markets. Investors flee to the safety of these commodities when they're nervous about currencies.

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

NPR's business news starts with silver and gold.

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INSKEEP: After the Standard & Poor's downgrade of the U.S. credit rating, investors moved money into some precious metals. For the first time ever, the price of gold soared to a record high of $1,700 an ounce in Hong Kong. So far for the year, gold prices are up 21 percent. The price of silver also rose, and was up more than five percent on the Asian markets.

Investors tend to flee to the safety of these commodities when they're nervous about currencies. And as it happens, the dollar slid. Oil is down, as well. Oil prices dipped below $85 a barrel in Asia today. Crude has dropped from $100 in the last month after hitting highs over $115 a barrel just in May.

Futures, market futures in the U.S. are also pointing to lower oil prices, suggesting markets anticipate a slowing global economy.

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