Mumbai, Feb. 13: Gold prices tumbled across the country today due to heavy stockists’ selling promoted by a steep fall in the Asian prices, while global oil prices soared to fresh two-year highs as the US and Britain pressed the case for war on Iraq, a major supplier to the West.
In Mumbai, the yellow metal suffered the most when it plunged by Rs 160 at Rs 5,665 per ten grams followed by Delhi where it recorded a fall of Rs 140 at Rs 5,710 per 10 grams.
In both the places this was the level early last month before it started an upward journey to hit an all time high level of over Rs 6,000 per 10 grams.
Heavy selling today was triggered by a steep fall in gold prices in the international markets where it was quoted between $ 347 and $ 353 an ounce before winding up at $ 354 against the last close of $ 361.20.
In Japan, speculators sold around 10 metric tonnes of gold as a part of long liquidation which brought the prices to a low of $ 347, a level not seen since January 8, 2003, dealers said.
Meanwhile, commercial crude oil inventories in the US are at their lowest level since 1975, when the West was building stocks to prevent another price shock in the aftermath of the Arab oil embargo. International benchmark Brent crude oil rose 65 cents to hit $ 33.10 a barrel, its highest since November 2000. US crude futures peaked at $ 36.29, their highest since October 2000 and marking a gain of 52 cents from Wednesday's close.
“Despite opposition from Germany and France, there seems to be little likelihood that the US drive towards war with Iraq will be blocked,” said Lawrence Eagles of brokers GNI. “The short-term supply situation is of concern,” he added.
Oil prices have spiked 45 per cent in the last three months on an explosive cocktail of US troop build-up in the Gulf, a crippling strike in Opec member Venezuela and Arctic weather in markets from Europe to the United States.