Oil, gold, corn... oh my!

gold.pngClick chart to see what other commodities are rallying. By Blake Ellis, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Commodity prices are surging across the board as the U.S. dollar remains under pressure from building speculation that the Federal Reserve is about to take action to aid the stumbling economy.

Oil and gold prices have been on a tear this month. After jumping 1.5% last week, crude prices spiked more than 1% again Wednesday. And gold continued it's record-breaking streak, surging nearly 2% to settle at a new record high of $1,370.50 an ounce.

Meanwhile, the Reuters-Jefferies CRB index, a key benchmark for global commodities, surged to its highest level since 2008.

Grains and soft commodities like corn, sugar, cocoa, coffee and cotton were also in the thick of the buying frenzy, with prices continuing to hover at yearly highs. (Track commodity prices)

"I really haven't seen prices like this since the early 1980s," said Dan Flynn, an energy trader at PFG Best. "A real cause and effect is trickling down into the markets based on low supply, high demand and a weaker dollar."

On Tuesday, meeting minutes released by the Federal Reserve signaled that the central bank could take additional steps to bolster the economy as soon as November.

That could mean the central bank would resume purchases of assets such as long-term Treasurys, a policy known as quantitative easing, which would pump money into the economy.

The anticipation of the central bank flooding the economy with more dollars has weakened the U.S. currency and boosted the appeal of commodities as an alternative investment.

"Quantitative easing fears are propelling prices higher because the dollar is being devalued," said Flynn. "When there's a weaker dollar, people want to get away from the paper currency and start to want the actual commodity itself."

At the same time, demand for oil is picking up, with the International Energy Agency raising its forecast for global oil demand this year and next. And global demand for food-related agricultural commodities like corn and other grains continues to be strong.

"The fact that global demand is very strong for all of these commodities is definitely playing a part in this rally we're seeing, especially in the corn market," said Flynn.

While corn prices took a slight step back Wednesday, the grain hit 2-year highs earlier in the week after an unexpectedly weak crop forecast from the U.S. Department of Agriculture last Friday propelled prices.

How long can the rally last? "As long as we have the fear of quantitative easing," said Flynn.

"We might see a little unwinding of positions and prices go down here and there, but the fact that the Fed is coming out and saying it's opening the door to printing more money, you're going to have speculators and funds keep coming out and buying commodities," he added. To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed4.20%4.30%
15 yr fixed3.28%3.30%
5/1 ARM3.53%3.34%
30 yr refi4.18%4.27%
15 yr refi3.26%3.27%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 16,563.30 -317.06 -1.88%
Nasdaq 4,369.77 -93.13 -2.09%
S&P 500 1,930.67 -39.40 -2.00%
Treasuries 2.56 0.00 0.08%
Data as of 8:06pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 15.25 -0.33 -2.12%
Micron Technology In... 30.55 -1.98 -6.09%
Apple Inc 95.60 -2.55 -2.60%
Facebook Inc 72.65 -2.03 -2.71%
Pfizer Inc 28.70 -0.56 -1.91%
Data as of 4:04pm ET

Sections

Eventually a Tesla service team will be able to pick up your car, service it, and return it to you that same day, according to Elon Musk. More

With RadioShack burning through cash, investors and credit rating agencies believe its days are numbered. More

LinkedIn shares surged in after-hours trading Thursday following strong second-quarter earnings, following the likes of Facebook and Twitter. More

Terrell White has had a profit-sharing plan for his employees since 1981, believing that if the staff isn't happy, guests won't be either. More

The Mason family, which has been struggling to pay the $100,000 student loan bill they were left with when their daughter passed away five years ago, is now seeing an outpouring of support. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.