By CHRISTOPHER LEONARD

Associated Press

Metals prices surged Wednesday on news that the world's central banks will launch a coordinated effort to lower borrowing costs and shore up the global financial system.

The central banks of Europe, the U.S., Britain, Canada, Japan and Switzerland made a surprise announcement of the extraordinary effort Wednesday. It eased worries that the financial crisis in Europe might drag down economic growth.

Metals prices slumped this fall as the European financial crisis intensified.

Traders think the central banks' effort will boost global growth, which could increase demand for raw materials like palladium and copper. The metals are used to make consumer goods and industrial products.

Palladium for December delivery surged 4.9 percent Wednesday to close at $612.60 an ounce. Palladium is up 7.6 percent since Monday.

Copper for December delivery rose 18.5 cents to close at $3.5755 per pound. Copper is up 9.3 percent since Monday. Platinum for January delivery gained $20.10 to settle at $1,560.80 an ounce.

Precious metals were also higher.

Gold for December delivery gained $31.40 to settle at $1,750.30 per ounce. December silver rose 85.4 cents, or nearly 3 percent, to close at $32.804 an ounce.

In other trading, crop prices were mixed. Corn for December delivery rose 2.5 cents to settle at $6.08 per bushel. December soybeans gained 6.25 cents to close at $11.3125 a bushel. March wheat fell 2 cents to finish at $6.14 per bushel.

In energy trading, benchmark crude oil rose 57 cents, or less than 1 percent, to end at $100.36 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Heating oil fell 0.85 cents to finish at $3.0251 per gallon. Gasoline futures gained 1.86 cents to close at $2.5584 per gallon and natural gas lost 8.3 cents to close at $3.55 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

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