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Thu 27 Sep 2012 10:24 AM

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Gold edges up from two-week low; euro zone worries weigh

By 0307 GMT, gold was up a slight 0.1 percent US$1,754.06 an ounce. US gold had inched up 0.2 percent to US$1,756.70

Gold edges up from two-week low; euro zone worries weigh
By 0307 GMT, gold was up a slight 0.1 percent US$1,754.06 an ounce.

Gold edged up on Thursday after three days of losses, but continued worries over the euro zone debt crisis that has lifted the dollar and weakened oil is expected to cap bullion's gains.

Investor worries about euro zone's ability to contain the debt crisis, now in its third year, heightened as anti-austerity protests in Greece and Spain, the two most vulnerable countries in the bloc, turned violent. 

"The excitement over the last few weeks in metals has come to an end as economic performance and weak oil prices depress market sentiment," said a Singapore-based trader.

Spot gold rose about 10 percent in the last five weeks to a near seven-month high on stimulus measures by central banks. But prices have come off this week, dropping to a two-week low of US$1,737.50 on Wednesday.

By 0307 GMT, gold was up a slight 0.1 percent US$1,754.06 an ounce. US gold had inched up 0.2 percent to US$1,756.70.

The metal may see a further correction as the greenback stays firm amid euro zone concerns, traders said. A strong

dollar weighs on commodities priced in the greenback by making them more expensive for buyers holding other currencies.

"We may see gold further fall to US$1,700 to US$1,720 level, but the correction won't be too dramatic due to the safe-haven nature of gold," the Singapore-based trader said.

Sluggish oil prices also dented interest in gold.

High oil prices are usually associated with rising inflation, which tends to add to the appeal of gold as a hedge against rising prices.

The correlation between the two stood at 0.367, just a hair below a six-month high hit earlier in the week. A reading of 1 indicates perfect correlation in which the two assets move in the same direction.

SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, suffered its biggest one-day drop in holdings since May, as the amount of gold it held dropped over 10 tonnes from a record high of 1,331.331 tonnes to 1,320.777 tonnes by September 26.

"The drop in holdings may have something to do with window-dressing of funds at the end of the quarter," said Lynette Tan, an analyst at Phillip Futures in Singapore.

"But gold will continue to be supported as the US 'fiscal cliff' comes around at the end of the year."

The fiscal cliff refers to Washington's deadline to agree on a plan to shrink the federal budget or trigger US$600bn in spending cuts and higher taxes that were put in place last summer, a potentially heavy blow to the already frail economy.

Other metals in the complex all held steady in early Asian trade, with this week's worse performer palladium rebounding to US$623.97 from a 3-1/2-week low of US$613.50 hit in the previous session.

Spot platinum was little changed at US$1,628.   

An illegal strike spread through AngloGold Ashanti's South African operations on Wednesday, while Anglo American Platinum said it could start firing unlawful strikers on Thursday, as the country's miners grapple to rein in weeks of labour unrest.

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