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Gold, Silver Up; Copper Falls

August 30, 2006

NEW YORK (AP) _ Gold futures finished higher in New York Wednesday while trading conditions remained thin ahead of the coming three-day Labor Day weekend.

Gold for December delivery settled up $7 at $626.10 a troy ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while December silver added 34.8 cents to $12.67 an ounce.

October platinum rose $10 to $1,237.50 an ounce. December palladium gained $2.40 to $345.30 an ounce.

The most-active December copper contract drifted to a session low of $3.3350 per pound, and settled down 3.15 cents at $3.3525 per pound.

Throughout the session traders were awaiting news about the ongoing strike at Chilean copper mine Escondida. The strike, now into its 24th day, has cut copper concentrate production by 50 percent at the mine.

After the close of trading Wednesday, majority owner BHP Billiton Ltd. said that workers would be voting on whether to end the strike even though a new contract deal hadn’t been made.

October crude oil settled up 32 cents at $70.03 a barrel. The contract had earlier fallen as low as $68.65, the lowest for the front-month contract since June 20.

September gasoline rose 1.27 cents to $1.8019 a gallon and September heating oil rose 0.64 cent to $1.9496 a gallon.

September natural gas settled down 58.6 cents at $6.290 a million British thermal units.

On the New York Board of Trade, September Arabica coffee futures closed up 0.05 cent at $1.0335 a pound.

Most-active December cocoa settled up $2 at $1,471 per metric ton.

Futures on raw sugar in foreign ports for October settled down 0.36 cent at 11.52 cents a pound.

On the Chicago Board of Trade, September corn settled 5.75 cents higher to $2.28.50 per bushel. September soybeans rose 5 cents to $5.42 per bushel. September wheat jumped 17 cents to $3.97.50 per bushel.

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