Gold edges higher as dollar softens
London, September 27, 2012
Gold prices edged higher on Thursday, recovering from the previous day's two-week low in line with stock markets and other commodities, but uncertainty over when Spain would request a rescue programme limited investors' confidence.
European shares recovered some ground lost after fierce protests in Spain and Greece against austerity measures roiled markets on Wednesday, while oil prices firmed and the dollar took on a slightly weaker tone.
Spot gold was up 0.2 per cent at $1,755.69 an ounce at 0952 GMT, while US gold futures for December delivery were up $5.00 an ounce at $1,758.60.
The precious metal is on track to end September with its largest quarterly gain in more than two years, of nearly 10 per cent, after the Federal Reserve unveiled a third round of bullion-friendly monetary stimulus measures earlier this month.
Gold fell sharply on Wednesday as worries over the euro zone debt crisis, which pressured the euro, prompted some investors to cash in gains ahead of quarter-end. It later recovered some ground, but remained down 0.5 per cent on the day.
"Short term, I think we'll see more consolidation. We'll have to see how the dollar performs," Credit Agricole analyst Robin Bhar said. "As we've seen in the last 48 hours, the crisis in Europe has resurfaced."
"If it comes back with a vengeance, the euro will stay weak, the dollar will stay strong, and that's going to cap the gold price," he said.
Spain is set to present its 2013 budget draft later on Thursday. A credible budget combined with comprehensive structural reforms could build the foundation for meeting conditions for a Spanish aid package and intervention by the European Central Bank in the bond market, analysts said.
Spanish government bond yields were stable as uncertainty over whether the troubled country would ask for a bailout kept investors edgy ahead of the unveiling of its budget.
"After the events of the last 24 hours, where Spanish police fired rubber bullets and used batons on austerity protestors, Spain's politicians need to draw the sting from further political unrest today while at the same time satisfying the EU that any new budget agreed for 2013 is credible," CMC Markets said in a note.
ETFs REPORT OUTFLOWS
Holdings of gold exchange-traded funds, which issue securities backed by physical metal, eased back from record highs on Wednesday, with products tracked by Reuters reporting an outflow of nearly 340,000 ounces.
The products are still on track for a ninth straight week of inflows, however.
Demand in major consumer India remained soft, meanwhile, as high prices curbed interest in the metal.
"A pickup in India's appetite for gold may require a stronger Indian rupee ahead of the festive gold buying season," HSBC said in a note. "While gold prices in dollar terms have increased 4 percent so far in September, they remain unchanged in rupee terms. This can be explained by a stronger rupee."
"Gold prices in local currency terms have declined from the high on 13 September... (but despite this), bullion merchants in India have expressed concerns that gold prices, which are still near record highs, have curbed physical demand."
Among other precious metals, silver was up 0.3 per cent at $34.04 an ounce, spot platinum was up 0.3 per cent at $1,631.90 an ounce, and spot palladium was up 0.4 per cent at $627.70 an ounce.
Silver has been the star performer of the precious metals this quarter, rising 24 per cent so far, its best performance since the last quarter of 2010.
Platinum prices are set to end the quarter up 13.2 per cent, while palladium is heading for an 8.2 per cent gain. Platinum group metal prices have been lifted by unrest in South Africa's mining sector, where violence at a mine operated by number three producer Lonmin killed 45 people. – Reuters
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