Precious metals futures prices were sharply higher Tuesday on the Commodity Exchange in New York as interest rates declined and foreign currencies rallied in trading against the U.S. dollar.
Gold and silver broke out of a lethargic trading range that had seen trading volume sag and prices remain steady for the past month.
Howard Levine, a metals analyst in New York with Donaldson Lufkin Jenrette, said prices had been under pressure in recent sessions from selling, primarily by gold producers.
But their selling was absent Tuesday, he said, and buyers dominated the session.
Levine said the strength of foreign currencies was less a factor than the lack of the physical sales. He said the rally in metals prices was well under way when foreign currencies posted the lion's share of their rally.
Levine said another encouraging factor was the level of interest rates, as the federal funds rate, the interest charged on overnight loans between banks, remained below 7% on Tuesday.
Cattle futures prices fell sharply and live hogs and frozen pork bellies were mixed on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.