Oil led a rebound among commodities on Wednesday as investors went bargain hunting for riskier assets after the U.S. Federal Reserve promised to extend near-zero interest rates for two more years.
Markets, however, remained wary about the implication of the central bank's move -- that it expects the U.S. economy to stay weak far longer than previously forecast -- and this kept gold near Tuesday's record high.
"The Fed statement will give a boost to overall commodity markets as it is more like injecting confidence into the markets. But there are uncertainties over U.S. economic growth and China," said Ker Chung Yang, an analyst at Phillip Futures in Singapore.
The Fed said on Tuesday it would consider further steps to help growth in the world's top economy, which Chinese officials interpreted as a sign that Washington would launch a third round of quantitative monetary easing.
The first two rounds of easing helped drive oil and other commodities sharply higher.
Brent crude surged more than $3 to hit an intraday high of $105.67 a barrel by 2:14 a.m. EDT, a day after settling at the lowest level since February. U.S. crude rose as high as $82.43.
"Hopefully, this is it for the oil market after investors who took too much risk got out," said Tony Nunan, a risk manager with Tokyo-based Mitsubishi Corp.
"There are a lot of supply side issues to keep prices supported. The Libya crisis is going nowhere, and the key really is to see what is going to happen in China."
DEMAND GROWTH FORECASTS CUT
China's crude oil imports in July hit a one-year low on a daily basis despite refiners cranking up production, customs data showed.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and the U.S. Energy Information Administration cut global demand growth forecasts for 2011 as the economic outlook for developed countries worsened.
Gold nudged up 0.19 percent to $1,746.69 an ounce after hitting a record of $1,778.29 in intraday trade on Tuesday.
"Generally speaking, the panic is subsiding for the moment. I would expect that (gold) will consolidate at these levels for a while before we get any sort of clear idea of the sort of next major moves," said Citigroup analyst David Thurtell.
"I think there are enough concerns about sovereign debts and weakening growth, that people will buy dips, so it should remain supported."
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange rose 2.2 percent to $8,923 a tonne, after losing 0.6 percent in the last session.
In agricultural markets, Chicago wheat gained 1.86 percent, while soybeans and corn bounced back on the Fed's comments.
Chicago Board of Trade actively traded November soy rose 0.92 percent to $13.11-3/4 a bushel, after touching a low of $12.82 a bushel on Tuesday, the lowest since March 17.
(Editing by Clarence Fernandez)