Gold News

Gold drops to one-week low ahead of US housing data

Spot Gold Prices held flat from last night's US close by lunchtime in London on Thursday, but then sank nearly $5 inside 30 minutes to trade at a new one-week low of $671 per ounce.

The move repeated Wednesday's sharp fall in the Gold Market, which came despite weak US housing data, and undid the sharp gains seen since last Thursday. News on sales of New US Homes in June was due shortly after the Wall Street open today.

The Spot Gold Market had earlier closed Hong Kong unchanged at the same level. Gold dealers in the crucial Indian market – where jewelry and investment-bar demand accounted for one ounce of gold in every five sold worldwide last year – reported slower sales after gold's recent rally to 11-week highs against the Dollar.

"There might also be a 10-15 days delay in the start of the busy season this year as the [Hindu] festivals are delayed," said Mayank Khemka of Khemka International to Reuters India. "But that doesn't reduce the overall demand."

Tokyo gold futures for June '08 delivery lost 0.4% against the Yen today, bringing the losses since Monday to 1.6% after last week's 2.0% gains. The most actively traded Tocom gold futures contract ending the session equal to $684.50 per ounce.

"Gold's demise yesterday was not solely linked to the Euro," says today's technical note from Standard Bank in Johannesburg, commenting on Wednesday's near $10 loss. "It was perhaps also a liquidity play in the market.

"Investors' confidence has obviously been affected by the subprime mortgage credit crunch gathering pace, and this in turn had led global stocks being sold off on Tuesday night. Gold saw good profit-taking yesterday, potentially from funds looking to raise cash and pull in capital invested into risky assets such as commodities and global stock markets before the true effect on the US housing downturn has been assessed."

Yesterday's 1.5¢ drop in the Euro/Dollar exchange rate was followed by further losses just ahead of the US open today, with the European single currency falling below $1.3700. The British Pound also continued to pull lower, firmly inside the downtrend begun Monday and reaching a low of $2.0430.

That decline in the Pound capped the drop in the Sterling Price of Gold for British buyers at £328.65 per ounce – £1 above Wednesday's low. Eurozone investors wanting to Buy Gold Today saw the price trade in a tight range around €493 per ounce, before sinking to a one-week low just beneath €490.

"If the Dollar's value should continue to rise rapidly it could trigger gold selling by funds," reckons Koji Suzuki, a market analyst at Kazaka Commodity in Tokyo. "The rise [last week] was driven by a weaker Dollar, and now that the US currency is recovering, the Tokyo gold market can't find the incentive to rise for the time being."

Meantime in the stock market, the Tokyo Nikkei index lost 0.9% on Thursday to close at a two-month low. The FTSE in London fell 0.5% after nearing a 3-month low. Nasdaq futures pointed to a higher start in New York after strong earnings results from Apple and Qualcomm.

Zinc, copper and nickel prices rose at the London Metals Exchange. Crude oil prices also rose, adding to Wednesday's gains on the back of poor US inventory data and taking one barrel of WTI Nymex for Aug. delivery to $76.71.

"There needs to be a perception of gold as being a preferred alternative asset," says Bill O'Neill of Logic Advisors in California. "It's not going to go higher just because the Euro rallied against the Dollar.

"The importance of the alternative-asset and flight-to-safety demand was very much shown [recently] by the fact that we had oil pushing well over $70 and the Dollar plunging, and yet gold wasn't catching up."

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Adrian Ash is director of research at BullionVault, the physical gold and silver market for private investors online. Formerly head of editorial at London's top publisher of private-investment advice, he was City correspondent for The Daily Reckoning from 2003 to 2008, and is now a regular contributor to many leading analysis sites including Forbes and a regular guest on BBC national and international radio and television news. Adrian's views on the gold market have been sought by the Financial Times and Economist magazine in London; CNBC, Bloomberg and TheStreet.com in New York; Germany's Der Stern; Italy's Il Sole 24 Ore, and many other respected finance publications.

See the full archive of Adrian Ash articles on GoldNews.

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