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Gold steady as Ireland offsets dollar impact
November 17, 2010 3:52 by Eva Fernandes
Gold steadied on Tuesday but remained near its lowest in nearly two weeks as a stronger
dollar kept commodities under pressure, partially offsetting the
lift to bullion from concern over the Irish debt crisis.
While gold often benefits from heightened investor aversion
to riskier assets, it has been swept lower in the broad sell-off
that has knocked copper, crude oil and grains, which have in
turned suffered from mounting expectations for more monetary
tightening in top raw materials consumer China.
Coupled with flows out of hard assets was a cooling towards
bullion from some of the world’s best-known gold bulls.
The most recent quarterly securities filings showed George
Soros cut his exposure to gold in the last quarter, along with
Spot gold was little changed at $1,361.90 an ounce by
1005 GMT, after falling to $1,354.99 in the previous session,
its lowest in nearly two weeks. U.S. gold futures fell
0.5 percent to $1,361.6 an ounce.
“Commodities generally are on the back foot at the moment
… everything feels a bit on hold. We’ve had a pretty volatile
period over the last couple of weeks and things seem to have
blown themselves out for the time being,” said Scotia Moccatta
head of precious metals Simon Weeks.
“Gold is wrapped up in the commodities story, which is often
the case in the short term and then it often recovers as a
IRISH DEBT IN FOCUS
Euro zone finance ministers will try to find a way to end
Ireland’s debt crisis on Tuesday, with Dublin resisting pressure
to seek a state bailout by signalling that only its banks may
The dollar is holding around six-week highs against the
euro, driven by concern about Ireland’s spiralling debt service
costs and rising U.S. Treasury yields, which prompted the
largest fall in the Reuters-Jefferies CRB index in
19 months late last week.
But several analysts echoed the view that the current
decline in gold prices would likely be temporary.
“Pressure on interest rates has in our view been one of the
key drivers behind the latest precious metals rally,” said
Credit Suisse in a note.
“However, we view the current pullback across the sector as
temporary as we expect the fundamental backdrop to remain
Speculation of more monetary tightening in China and other
Asian countries also worried traders. South Korea’s central bank
raised interest rates for the second time since the global
crisis and signalled further tightening as it shifted its focus
away from heavy fund inflows to rising inflation.
Traders in Asia said a decision by the Chicago Mercantile
Exchange to raise margin requirements for all four precious
metals could lead to additional liquidation.
Spot silver trimmed earlier gains to last trade at
$25.71, up 1.1 percent.
Platinum was unchanged on the day, while palladium edged
higher, ahead of the release of Johnson Matthey’s
closely-watched report of market balances and supply and demand
outlooks for the two metals at 1300 GMT.
Platinum fell to $1,660, its lowest in more than
three weeks, before recovering to $1,668.74 an ounce, unchanged
on the day. Palladium rose by 0.5 percent to $672.22 an
(Additional reporting by Rujun Shen in Singapore; Editing by