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Oil, gold hit record highs

Reuters/Goran Tomasevic

The price of gold reached a historic high on Monday and oil prices hit 2.5-year highs as the crisis in Libya and turmoil in the Middle East continued to disrupt markets.

The price of gold hit record highs Monday, higher even than previous records set last week. An ounce of old reached 1,444.95 dollars (1,031.08 euros) around midday Monday, beating last Wednesday’s high of 1,440.32 dollars (1,026.82 euros) an ounce.

Analysts say the price is rising as a reaction because markets are unstable, due to unrest in Libya and in the rest of the region, which is pushing up the price of oil. As oil prices become more volatile, investors move towards more stable investments, like gold or silver.

Silver rose to 36.76 dollars (26.23 euros) an ounce on Monday, the highest it has been since March 1980.

Oil reached its highest level since September 2008 in New York on Monday – at midday it was at 106.95 dollars (76.32 euros) a barrel. It later went down to 105.67 dollars (75.40 euros) a barrel, up 1.25 dollars (0.89 euros) from Friday’s close. And in London, Brenth North Sea crude rose 88 cents to 116.85 dollars (83.38 euros) a barrel.

Like with gold, analysts say the rise is due to unrest in Libya, and prices are unlikely to drop soon, as investors worry about similar movements spreading east, towards oil-rich regions in the Middle East.

Libya is the fourth biggest oil exporter in Africa after Nigeria, Algeria and Angola, producing around 1.8 million barrels a day, most of which is exported to Europe.

The US said Sunday that it had not ruled out using its strategic oil reserves to counter the sharp rise in oil prices.