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Tue 21 Aug 2012 10:39 AM

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Platinum eases from two-month high, gold steady

Spot platinum was little changed at US$1,486.49 an ounce by 0623 GMT, off a two-month high of US$1,492.99 marked the day before

Platinum eases from two-month high, gold steady
Spot platinum was little changed at US$1,486.49 an ounce by 0623 GMT, off a two-month high of US$1,492.99 marked the day before (AFP/Getty Images).

Platinum inched down on Tuesday, sliding from a two-month peak hit in the previous session on heightened supply worries in top producer South Africa, while expectations for easing monetary policy buoyed gold.

About a third of the workforce returned to Lonmin's Marikana platinum mine in South Africa, after violent clashes there killed 44 and fuelled worries about a supply shortfall, driving platinum prices up 5 percent last week.

Spot platinum was little changed at US$1,486.49 an ounce by 0623 GMT, off a two-month high of US$1,492.99 marked the day before.

The gold-platinum spread stood at US$137 an ounce, after falling below US$130 in the previous session, its narrowest since early July.

Gold traded near the top of the range in which it has been trapped since May, as sentiment was supported by expectations of further stimulus measures despite the European Central Bank's effort to squash speculation on its future bond buying programme. 

"Ongoing expectations for further monetary easing globally are keeping gold lifted," said Li Ning, an analyst at Shanghai CIFCO Futures.

"Physical demand is likely to pick up in September, and that gives hope to gold bugs too."

Spot gold edged up 0.2 percent to a one-week high of US$1,623.30 an ounce, on course for a fifth straight day of gains.

The US gold futures contract for December delivery rose 0.2 percent to US$1,625.50.

Reuters market analyst Wang Tao said that charts suggested spot gold might test resistance at US$1,626.06, with any break through that level triggering a gain to US$1,650.

Spot silver jumped nearly 3 percent on Monday to a two-month high of US$28.84, surprising traders and analysts. The move, helped by the rally in platinum prices, was the sharpest one-day rise in more than a month and pushed silver above its 100-day moving average for the first time since April.

Silver, with dual properties as both precious and industrial metal, was trading at US$28.80.

"I think everyone is waiting for some action between September and December after a few months of directionless trade," said a Shanghai-based trader.

"If we see policymakers announce stimulus measures, and these measures meet expectations, prices will rally. If not, prices will retrace."

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