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Gold near 2-week high on dollar

Singapore, April 30, 2012

Gold held near a 2-week high on Monday on prospects of more safe haven buying, with the dollar under pressure from weaker-than-expected US economic data.

Although the slowdown may not be bad enough to prompt the Fed to launch a third round of bond buying, or quantitative easing, expectations for such a move plus fears about the debt crisis in Europe could offer gold much-needed impetus to break free from the current range.     

Money managers in gold futures and options had slashed net long positions in the week ended April 24 for a third decline in four weeks, after gold failed to break out of a narrow range.

Gold added $1.12 to $1,663.44 an ounce by 0301 GMT, but the metal was heading for its third monthly decline. Bullion had risen to $1,667.11 on Friday, its strongest since April 13, on disappointing US growth and European debt jitters.

"In the short run, you can have one or two weeks for the market to get excited about QE. It's fair enough. I am still going to call for a lower gold price," said Dominic Schnider, head of commodity research at UBS Wealth Management in Singapore.

"The target is still $1,520. But that really goes in line with the view the economy is on a better footing. If there's no need for QE, then our call will be spot on. But if you look for QE, we are going to have a situation where prices will trend higher."

The US economy, the world's largest, expanded at a 2.2 percent annual rate in the first three months of the year, below economists' expectations of a 2.5 percent pace, raising the prospect of further stimulus from the Fed.   

Gold rallied to its highest level in 2012 around $1,790 in late February after the Fed at the time said it would keep interest rates near zero until at least the end of 2014.

The US dollar held near its weakest since late February against the yen after the disappointing first-quarter US economic growth data, while the euro was still stuck in a range because of the lingering debt crisis in Europe.

Spain, the euro zone's fourth largest economy and current focus of the debt crisis, will face a challenge selling bonds this week after a surprise two-notch credit rating downgrade pushed up yields on its debt.

Standard & Poor's cut Spain to triple-B plus - three notches above "junk" - citing expectations government finances will deteriorate even more as the economy contracts and as a result of an ailing banking sector. 

Gold raced to a record of around $1,920 last September on fears the euro debt crisis could spiral out of control and stall global growth. US gold for June was little changed at $1,664.50  an ounce. - Reuters 




Tags: Currency | Gold | Dollar | bullion |

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