GOLD PRICES rallied from fresh 1-month lows in London trade Wednesday morning, bouncing $15 from $1262 per ounce as world stock markets also slipped following comments from a senior US Federal Reserve policymaker about a likely reduction in quantitative easing in December.
QE tapering "could very well take place next month," said Atlanta Fed president Dennis Lockhart late Tuesday.
This jars with analyst forecasts, which after the central bank failed to start tapering in September now see the Fed waiting until March according to Bloomberg News' latest survey.
Current vice-chair Janet Yellen, due to be installed by then as Fed chief, speaks to US lawmakers tomorrow to defend her nomination.
"Technically, gold prices are finding strong support at $1275," says a note from South African investment bank and global bullion dealers Standard Bank.
But "a break lower is likely in the absence of strong physical demand...Demand from China has improved marginally, but is still weaker than the last time gold was trading below $1300 in mid-October."
"Gold's negative price reaction," Bloomberg quotes HSBC analyst Howard Wen, "to the possibility of a December Fed tapering indicates that the bullion market is likely to remain sensitive to expectations for changes in monetary policy.
"We expect the bullion
market to remain data-dependent."
"Price action is weak," says a technical analysis from Scotiabank, "with the metal registering 7 down days in the past 10 trading session."
Now more bearish on gold than silver, SocGen technician Stephanie Aymes says that "short-term, 1285/89 will limit upside" in gold prices, now most likely heading to the recent low at $1251 before dropping to $1222 over the next 3 months."
"In terms of maintaining the immediate pace of descent" in gold prices, Credit Suisse analyst David Sneddon told Reuters on Monday, "I would feel more comfortable seeing $1268 broken, but our bias is for prices to come through there."
"For me," says Richard Adcock at fellow Swiss investment bank and London market-maker UBS, also speaking Monday to Thomson Reuters, "the more significant support would be the 50% retracement of the February 2001 to September 2011 advance, which stands at $1082.60.
"That for me would be the next longer-term target level to look for over the next weeks and months."
Gold prices for UK investors meantime fell again through £800 per ounce on Wednesday, as the British Pound reversed yesterday's drop following improved economic forecasts from the Bank of England.
UK interest rates are not certain to rise, however, if unemployment falls to 7%, said central-bank governor Mark Carney, addressing recent talk of a possible rise in UK interest rates when presenting the latest quarterly Inflation Report
Seven per cent "is just a staging post," said Carney, putting the odds of a drop to that level by end-2014 at 40%.
UK joblessness fell to 7.6% over the summer, new data said today. Average earnings, however, continued to lag the rate of consumer price of inflation.
Following gold prices lower but failing to rally as hard, meantime, silver today touched a 1-month low at $20.60 before recovering to $20.80, some 3.4% down for the week so far.
Silver investment demand in 2013
will account for some 24% of the total market, said Andrew Leyland of Thomson Reuters GFMS, presenting at last night's Silver Institute dinner, up from 4% a decade ago.
That rise mirrors the decline GFMS reports in photographic demand, down from 25% of the global silver market in 2003 to just 5% today.