Gold edged up Wednesday as a weak report on the job market fed speculation that the Federal Reserve would keep pumping money into the economy. Corn prices plunged 18 percent following reports of tighter supplies.
The gold contract for August delivery rose $1.30 to settle at $1,398.50 an ounce.
The payment-processing company ADP said businesses added 135,000 workers to their payrolls last month, far fewer than economists had expected. Signs of weaker economic growth led traders to suspect the Fed will keep buying $85 billion in bonds each month to support the economy.
Until this year, the Fed's bond-buying program had helped drive gold prices to record highs. Many investors thought the Fed's efforts would set off higher inflation and bought gold as insurance against that.
In other trading Wednesday, platinum group metals were broadly higher amid new trouble at mines in South Africa, the world's largest supplier of platinum.
Platinum for July jumped $19.50, or 1.3 percent, to settle at $1,510.60 an ounce.
Palladium for September delivery added $5.40, or 0.7 percent, to $756.45 an ounce.
Other metals also rose. Silver for July delivery rose 6.3 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $22.472 an ounce. Copper for July inched up 0.25 cent to $3.3715 a pound.
In other trading, corn lost $1.1825 to settle at $5.4225 a bushel. Wheat slipped 7.5 cents to $7.015 a bushel. Soybeans inched up 3.25 cents to $15.32 a bushel.
In energy trading, crude oil for July delivery rose 43 cents to close at $93.74 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Wholesale gasoline was flat at $2.82 a gallon, heating oil fell 1 cent to end at $2.86 per gallon and natural gas was flat at $4.00 per 1,000 cubic feet.
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