FRIDAY EVENING UPDATE AND WEEK IN REVIEW VIDEO
Gold Bullion prices held above $1620 per ounce during Friday morning's London trading – a gain of nearly 4% for the month so far.
Stock markets and major government bonds rallied, with analysts speculating on the prospects for further monetary stimulus, including a possible third round of quantitative easing (QE3) from the Federal Reserve, whose policymakers meet next week.
Silver Bullion meantime hovered around $28.70 per ounce – 3.6% up in June so far, but only 1.1% for this week – while broad commodities gained, with oil edging higher despite Opec's decision Thursday not to lower its production ceiling.
Heading into the weekend, Gold Bullion looked set for a weekly gain of around 2% by Friday lunchtime in London.
Some gold traders in Asia however have reported "sluggish" demand for physical bullion this week.
"Our recent call suggesting that Gold Prices had room to rally," says a note from French investment bank Natixis, "was predicated more upon the prospect of further US easing...it is likely [though] that some of the current weakness in US economic data is linked in part to the ongoing deterioration in the European outlook."
"Not many [traders] will dare take on fresh long [positions] ahead of the weekend," reckons Andrey Kryuchenkov, analyst at VTB Capital in London, citing gold's "peculiar behavior recently".
"We should stall near this week's highs below $1630, with all attention on Greece, and then the G20 summit next week."
"The next big event in the gold world is likely to be the Greek election," agrees a note from HSBC.
"Gold may be caught between the election and US monetary expectations."
Greek voters go to the ballot box this Sunday, with Syriza, which has said it rejects the conditions attached to Greece's bailout, neck-and-neck with New Democracy according to the most recent opinion polls.
"Whatever the outcome in Europe, it will likely be supportive for gold," says Neil Gregson, who manages JPMorgan Asset Management's Natural Resources Fund.
"We've still got the possibility of QE3 in the US, which would be good for gold."
Here in London, Britain's chancellor George Osborne and Bank of England governor Mervyn King last night announced £100 billion of stimulus measures, including a "funding for lending" program aimed at cutting banks' borrowing costs in return for promises to lend to the non-financial sector.
"It is very hard to argue that monetary policy, in all its forms, has run out of road," Osborne told an audience of financial services professionals at the City of London's Mansion House.
"The government, with the help of the Bank of England, will not stand on the sidelines and do nothing as the storm gathers."
"Businesses and households are battening down the hatches to prepare for the storms ahead," added King, speaking later at the same event.
"The result is that lower spending leads to lower incomes and a self-reinforcing weaker picture for growth."
"It is clear from Governor King's speech," says Barclays economist Simon Hayes, "that he has become more gravely concerned about the economic outlook, even over just the past few weeks...[implying] a much increased likelihood that the [Monetary Policy Committee] will sanction more quantitative easing."
While the "funding for lending" scheme should help lower borrowing costs, "the core problem remains" says Graeme Leach, chief economist of the Institute of Directors.
"Companies alarmed by the Euro crisis will not be eager to borrow, regardless of the cost."
King also stated in his speech that "the big picture was, and remains the need to generate recovery while balancing our economy, supported by a loose monetary policy and a large depreciation of Sterling...and a gradual but steady reduction in the [government's] structural budget deficit."
Since the onset of the crisis in August 2007, the Pound has fallen nearly 25% against the Dollar. Sterling Gold Prices meantime have risen more than 200%.
Over in Frankfurt, European Central Bank president Mario Draghi said Friday the ECB "will continue to supply liquidity to solvent banks where needed".
Hours earlier, King said that the Bank of England "will provide banks with whatever liquidity they require given the prospect of turbulence ahead".
Japan's prime minister meantime said Friday that recent gains in the Yen do not reflect Japan's fundamentals, adding that he will relay his worries about currencies and the Eurozone crisis at next week's G20 meeting.
"[European] growth is slumping," says Friday's note from Standard Bank currency analyst Steve Barrow in London.
"Inflation is falling and there's a possible need to react to the disintegrating European Monetary Union...the Fed, the ECB, the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan and China's [central bank] should all ease policy – and pretty soon."
Elsewhere in London, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd has said it will buy the London Metals Exchange for $2.15 billion.
"The deal will make Hong Kong Exchanges one of the major metal exchanges in the world," says Charles Li, chief executive at Hong Kong Exchanges.
The volume of Gold Bullion held to back shares in the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD), the world's largest Gold ETF, rose by just over three tonnes Thursday, hitting its highest level this month at 1277.4 tonnes, though it remains around 3% off the all-time record set two years ago.
The tonnage of Silver Bullion in the iShares Silver Trust (SLV), the world's biggest Silver ETF, remained static Thursday at just over 9696 tonnes.
British pawnbroker Albermarle & Bond meantime have citing falling Gold Prices as contributing to a profits warning issued today, with fewer people opting to pawn or sell scrap Gold Bullion such a jewelry.
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