Gold at record highs! Dollar at 3-year lows! Don't panic

dollar, gold, silverClick the chart for more exchange rates. By Hibah Yousuf, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Gold and silver prices are surging and the U.S. dollar is slumping. While that's not great for consumers, investors are loving the dynamic.

"The Fed has made it crystal clear that it is not going to do anything to stop the dollar from falling," said Kathy Lien, director of currency research at Global Forex Trading, adding that central bank's unwavering message gives investors the green light to keep adding high-yielding assets to their portfolio.

By borrowing and then selling the greenback, investors are able to take advantage of the cheap currency by using the proceeds to buy up higher yielding assets, such as the euro, gold, silver and even oil.

The so-called carry trade has pushed the dollar index, which measures the value of the buck against a basket of currencies including the euro, pound and yen, to three-year lows.

On the flip side, gold prices, which have climbed for seven consecutive weeks, rose to a record high of $1,548 an ounce on Friday, and silver prices jumped as high as $49.21 an ounce. Oil prices also gained about 1% to just under $114 a barrel.

So what's going on? It's all about interest rates and inflation.

Earlier this month, the European Central Bank raised its benchmark interest rate. And China's central bank has already hiked rates four times since the end of the financial crisis to combat inflation and prevent asset bubbles

But the Fed isn't pulling the plug yet. On Wednesday, the central bank reiterated plans to keep interest rates low, invest the interest earned on its current asset holdings and complete its $600 billion bond buying program in June, as expected.

All of that, of course, deteriorates the value of the dollar.

"As long as that's the case, investors will keep paying a small interest rate to borrow dollars and use the funds to purchase currencies that are appreciating and earning higher interest rates like the euro, and commodities that are earning higher returns," Lien said.

The only event that could relieve some of the strain on the dollar would be a worsening sovereign debt picture in Europe, but that would only be a temporary salve.

"It wouldn't last long because the Fed's rhetoric limits any demand for the dollar," said Dean Popplewell, chief currency strategist at Oanda Corp. 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 fixed3.98%3.95%
15 yr fixed3.05%3.05%
5/1 ARM3.32%3.71%
30 yr refi4.05%4.03%
15 yr refi3.12%3.11%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 16,805.41 127.51 0.76%
Nasdaq 4,483.72 30.92 0.69%
S&P 500 1,964.58 13.76 0.71%
Treasuries 2.27 -0.00 -0.09%
Data as of 1:35am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Ford Motor Co 13.78 -0.62 -4.31%
Microsoft Corp 46.13 1.11 2.47%
Apple Inc 105.22 0.39 0.37%
Bank of America Corp... 16.72 0.12 0.72%
Yahoo! Inc 43.50 0.90 2.11%
Data as of Oct 24

Sections

New York headlines took a straight forward and direct approach with NYC's Ebola news. More

The midterm elections are around the corner, and the economy remains a top concern. With unemployment down and inflation low, why do people still feel the economy stinks? More

Shares of Facebook recently topped $80. They've more than quadrupled from their post-IPO lows of two years ago. Can Mark Zuckerberg keep the momentum in mobile going? More

Using technology developed for the military and implemented in Iraq, schools have installed alarm systems that detect gunfire. More

If you're looking to fly this holiday season, the clock's ticking to get the best prices. More

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices 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.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.