The price of gold climbed above $150 an ounce on the bullion markets here and in other major trading centers today for the first time in more than 19 months. Some dealers said they thought it could go on rising up to around $160.
The metal opened at $150.12, above yesterday's closing rate of $148.87. It was quoted at the same figure when it closed quietly after a day of active trading, dealers said.
Particular interest from investors in North America coupled with fiarly good industrial demand were the main factors helping the price to its present level from low points just over $100 last August, Swiss bullion bankers said.
They said forecasts showed that the price could rise to $157 and some thought a price close to $160 was possible in present market conditions.
In London, after holding firm at just over $150 an ounce for most of the day, gold closed at $149,75. It was quoted at 150.25 dollars by leading London bullion houses at the afternoon fixing - when a guideline price is set for the world market.
Dealers said the firmness of gold can be attributed to investor views of inflationary prospects in leading industrialized nations.
On foreign exchange markets, the U.S. dollar declined against all currencies except the British pound, where the Bank of England was forced to intervene in support of sterling.
The American and British currencies declined for different reasons, according to dealers. The pound weakened on a no confidence move which could force the Labor government into general elections, while the dollar was hit by a U.S. government report on consumer prices which could mean sustained inflation.
In London the pound fell to $1.7173 from $1.7190. The dollar had a marginal gain in Brussels to 36.75 Belgian francs from 36.74 and held steady in Amsterdam at 2.4960 guilders. It declined elsewhere, closing in Frankfurt at 2,3895 marks from 2.31915, in Zurich at 2,5479 Swiss francs from 2.5523, in Paris at 4.9825 French francs from 4.9840 in Milan at 886.80 lire from 886.95. In Tokyo, the dollar also fell in heavy trading, closing at 281.30 yen against 281.70 Thursday.