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Gold retreats in line with euro, stock markets

London, February 27, 2012

Gold prices fell 1 percent on Monday, in line with the euro, stocks and other commodities, as worries over the euro zone debt crisis and the impact of high crude oil prices on the fledgling economic recovery fuelled risk aversion.

Spot gold was down 0.9 per cent at $1,764.80 an ounce at 1058 GMT, while US gold futures for February delivery were down $10.30 an ounce at $1,766.10.

The precious metal struggled to maintain traction above $1,780 an ounce last week after rising more than 3 per cent - its best weekly performance since late January - to its highest in three months.

"There is nothing to say that gold should directionally pull back, but if it got to a lot of investors' targets, whether that was around the $1,780 an ounce level we saw last week, they will take some money and wait for it to pull back before re-entering," said Citigroup analyst David Wilson.

Shares fell on Monday and the euro slipped 0.3 per cent against the dollar as investors worried about energy costs hurting global growth, and after the Group of 20 leading economies told Europe it must commit more money to fight the debt crisis before seeking their help.

The debt crisis that has engulfed the euro zone in recent years was initially positive for gold, fuelling interest in the metal as a haven from risk. In recent months better news on the crisis has benefited gold, however, as it tracks the euro higher, although the relationship remains patchy.

"Gold's correlation with the euro - while still positive - has... weakened to the lowest level in almost a month," said UBS in a note.

"The easing of correlations should help shield gold if a negative surprise emerges from the euro zone in the coming week or so," he added.

Recent upward momentum in oil prices, which rose to 10-month highs on Friday on the back of the Iran crisis, has also raised concerns over economic growth, analysts said. Prices eased back on Monday as investors cashed in gains.

In a note, technical analysts at Standard Chartered said that while a rise through gold's November peak at $1,802 would open up the path to revisit last year's record high, short-term momentum indicators are bearish. It sees support at $1,705.

"The rally is extending, but we favour resistance at $1,802 an ounce to continue to cap near-term upticks," they said.

Gold's retreat from 10-week highs fuelled a demand recovery in major consumer India, a notoriously price-sensitive market, on Monday.

"Gold is slightly off last week's high, a rupee close to 49.00 (is) attractive and the market's view (is for) prices to further go up," said a dealer with a private bank in Mumbai.

But dealers in Tokyo said supply of scrap gold to the market rose after Japanese-yen denominated gold rose to its highest since last September, with monetary easing measures from the Bank of Japan pressuring the yen.

In New York, money managers, including hedge funds and other large speculators, raised their bullish bets in gold to the highest level in 5 months during the week of February 21, as prices snapped back from their February lows, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) data showed.

Among other precious metals, silver was down 0.7 percent at $35.12 an ounce, tracking losses in gold.

The gold/silver ratio, or the number of silver ounces needed to buy an ounce of gold, eased to its lowest since late October on Monday at 50.3 as the grey metal outperformed.

Spot platinum was down 0.9 percent at $1,692.99 an ounce, while spot palladium was down 0.9 percent at $703.50 an ounce.-Reuters




Tags: Gold | euro | stock markets |

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