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Fri 16 Oct 2009 01:08 PM

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Gold steady at $1,050; consolidates after record

Weakness in gold comes despite further losses for $; looks to end flat this week.

Gold steadied around $1,050 an ounce on Friday, after falling more than $10 the previous day, as the precious metal consolidated from record highs hit earlier this week.

The weakness in gold came despite further losses for the dollar, which hit a 14-month low against the euro on Friday, and a one-year high for oil, suggesting that recent investor passion for gold may be cooling.

"People seem to be getting tired of buying gold," said Naomi Suzuki, a senior analyst at SC Asset Management Co in Tokyo.

"The dollar's outlook is weak, so gold's basic strength will be kept intact. But it is disappointing that gold has stopped rising in other currencies, which suggests the deterioration of confidence among non-dollar investors," she said.

Bullion denominated in euros hit a seven-month high earlier this week above 720 euros per ounce before falling to around 700.

Spot gold was at $1,046.40 an ounce at 0510 GMT, down 0.3 percent from New York's notional close and off the record $1,070.40 hit on Wednesday.

Despite managing record highs for two days in a row, gold looks set to end the week flat, after it best gain in six months last week.

U.S. gold futures for December delivery fell 0.3 percent to $1,047.70 an ounce after losing 1.3 percent in the previous session.

Traders said the recent rally was mainly driven by long positions piling up in gold futures on a weakening dollar, in contrast to gains at the beginning of October, when investors put new money into gold-backed exchange-traded securities.

Gold holdings at the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, the SPDR Gold Trust, have been flat at 1,109.314 tons since October 7.

Traders shrugged off news late on Thursday that a U.S. congressional committee approved new rules for over-the-counter derivatives.

"There's little immediate reaction here," said a nonferrous metals analyst at a Japanese trading company.

"Oil prices, which in theory are among the most vulnerable to such regulations, held onto their gains. That's proof."

In the currency market, the euro and high-yielding currencies such as the Australian and the New Zealand dollars hit new highs for the year against the dollar after positive U.S. data and encouraging corporate earnings prompted investors to further build long positions. (Reuters)

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