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Thu 3 Sep 2009 01:45 AM

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Gold price to remain range bound over short term - Fitch

Market subject to profit taking in Asia, subdued industrial demand in Europe.

Ratings agency Fitch said on Wednesday that whilst the gold price remains near historic highs due to 'flight to quality' led investor demand, it expects prices to remain range bound in the short-term."Profit-taking from investors in emerging markets such as India, Turkey and Thailand, and subdued jewelry and industrial demand in Western Europe and North America in advance of a rebound in consumer sentiment continue to weigh on gold prices," said Monica Bonar, Director at Fitch Ratings.

"Distressed de-stocking from consumers in these regions has likely peaked, whilst Fitch expects Asian, Middle Eastern, and Latin American gold consumers to remain price sensitive - selling scrap when prices appear high in local currency and buying jewelry, coins or bars when prices are below expectations," Bonar added.

In its report 'Perspectives on Gold: Prices to be range bound in the short-term' the agency said the price of gold is heavily influenced by investor demand on one side and scrap and official gold sales on the other.

On the supply side, the worldwide supply of gold comes from mine production and the drawdown of existing stocks of bullion and fabricated gold held by governments, financial institutions, industrial organisations, and private individuals.

In recent years, mine production has accounted for 60% to 75% of the total annual supply of gold and remains at a fairly constant level. Official sector gold sales have accounted for approximately a further 10% of gold supply over the past three years.

On the demand side, gold is primarily used in product fabrication and as an investment.

Historically, jewelry accounts for approximately 65% to 75% of the worldwide demand for gold, but fabricated gold is also used in electronics, dentistry, industrial and decorative uses, medals, medallions, and official coins.

Gold investors typically buy gold exchange traded funds (ETF), gold bullion, equity in gold producers, official coins and high-karat jewelry. In the past three quarters jewelry demand was only 48% of total overall demand, however.

While pricing in the gold market has declined from a high of approximately $1,000 per troy ounce (oz.) in March 2008, gold remains near its highs on a historical basis: it is currently at approximately $941/oz. compared with the 10-year historical average of $494/oz.

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