Gold News

Gold Price Drops 5% from Record, Silver Down 9% in a Week, as Eurozone Debt, US Data & Asian Demand "Vie for Supremacy"

The Gold Price in Dollars slid to a near 6-week low in early London trading on Friday, dropping below $1360 an ounce as the US currency rose and world stock markets ticked lower ahead of the latest US employment data.

Gold then bounced to $1369 as New York trading began and Non-Farm Payrolls showed a rise of 103,000 – below analyst forecasts – and the labor-force participation rate slipped further below two-in-three.

The Euro also bounced but held below $1.30 after dropping through its 200-day moving average (as many technical analysts noted) as weaker-economy Eurozone bonds led by Portugal and Spain fell once again, and the cost of insuring them against default jumped to new record highs.

"Precious metals are unable to break away from their Euro correlation," says one London dealer.

Silver Prices dropped another dollar from Thursday's finish to trade almost 9% below Monday's new 30-year high.

As the start of New York dealing drew near, the Gold Price in Dollars stood almost 5% off its new record high of this time last month.

The Gold Price in Euros peaked overnight at €34,000 per kilo – less than 2% off its all-time high of last week.

"We think it's Euro weakness, bought on by debt strains, rather than Dollar strength, caused by better data, that's the key factor at play here," says chief forex strategist Steve Barrow at Standard Bank.

The Economist magazine's Free Exchange blog today notes that the 17-nation single currency was the worst-performer amongst major currencies in 2010, adding that "Portugal is rightly regarded as the next likely candidate for the IMF/Eurozone rescue fund [because] it's access to market funding looks precarious."

"It is clearly possible that further European crises might again push Gold Prices higher," writes Patrick Artus' research team at French bank (and London bullion dealer) Natixis. "[But] we would expect Spot Gold prices to decline as [global] interest rates rise.

However, even as "other central banks are leading the way in tightening monetary policy" Natixis' 2011 commodity outlook continues, "the US Fed remains in ultra-expansionary monetary easing, in sharp contrast to recent global economic cycles.

"This is likely to lead to greater volatility in commodity prices, as counteracting pressures vie for supremacy."

US crude oil contracts today bounced from a 3-week low, but copper prices led another 1% in base metals.

"Nice wake up call for folk to see that commodities can go down as well as up," notes metals analyst Nick Moore at RBS today.

Short-term in gold, Thursday marked "the 4th consecutive down day" in Dollar Gold Prices, says Russell Browne at Scotia Mocatta, "something that has not happened in over 12 months."

Looking ahead, however, "Bullish factors such as concerns over Eurozone debt levels, the US deficit and higher inflation expectations are likely to see gold peaking at much higher prices later this year," reckons Credit Agricole CIB's senior metals analyst Robin Bhar.

Meantime in Asia on Friday, Chinese and Indian traders were once again heavy buyers of gold and silver, according to dealers, with the Hong Kong premium to Buy Gold rising to $2 per ounce above the London benchmark.

"Supply is tight in the physical market," Reuters quotes a local dealer.

Offers to sell gold in the wholesale Hong Kong market were priced up to $3 above London prices, another dealer says in a note.

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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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