Gold set to gain in 2008, other metals fall

LONDON/SHANGHAI: Gold eased on Wednesday in thin trade ahead of the New Year break, as oil prices softened and the dollar ticked up against the euro. But the precious metal is set to be one of the only commodities to post a gain year-on-year, supported by interest in bullion as a haven from risk.

Spot gold was quoted at $860.10/862.10 an ounce at 1247 GMT, down from $872.10 an ounce late in New York on Tuesday. But the metal is currently up some three percent from its 2007 close of $833.20, according to Reuters data. Silver ended last year at $14.77 an ounce, but softened a touch on Wednesday in line with gold to $10.78/10.86 an ounce from $10.91. Platinum fell to $904/909 an ounce from $914.50, while palladium eased to $182/187 from $183. Platinum prices look set to fall sharply on the year, having closed 2007 at $1,520 an ounce, according to Reuters data.

Copper rises on higher China VAT: Copper rose almost three percent on Wednesday after China raised value-added tax on a range of metal ore imports, but metals across the board still look set for their worst annual falls on record.

Copper for three-month on the London Metal Exchange copper rose 2.6 percent to a high of $2,986. At 1110 GMT, it was trading at $2,950 a tonne from $2,910 at the close on Tuesday. Copper struck a record high of $8,940 a tonne while aluminium hit $3,380 a tonne in July before a global financial crisis knocked demand.

Aluminium is set to end the year as the best performing metal on the LME despite soaring inventories that have pushed prices down 37.5 percent. Three-month aluminium traded at $1,504 a tonne from $1,495 on Tuesday.

Lead, the worst performing industrial metal, has dropped 63.4 percent this year. It traded at $937 a tonne from the last bid of $954 on Tuesday. Nickel rose to $10,925 from $10,710 a tonne, zinc climbed to $1,165 from $1,150, while tin was at $10,325 from 10,000. reuters

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