Gold News

Silver and Gold Prices Flat in Thin Trade, Euro Fall Set to Spur Fresh Intervention from Swiss Central Bank

The Gold Price ticked down to $1382 per ounce in quiet London trade on Thursday, little changed for the week so far, as European shares also held flat in very thin dealing.

Silver Prices held at the lower end of this week's 40-cent range below $29.50 an ounce.

US crude oil contracts meantime slipped back below the $91 per barrel hit overnight in Asian dealing.

"Chinese buying was seen in gold and platinum," says a Hong Kong dealer.

But  the Gold Price "is likely to be range bound" until New Year, says Ong Yi Ling at Phillip Futures in Singapore to Reuters.

Christmas and New Year holidays over the next week mean "It will be pretty difficult for gold to actually master sufficient momentum to move above the $1,400 level."

Like Japan's stock market, Tokyo's Gold Futures exchange was today closed for a national holiday. Other Asian stock markets closed the day lower.

On the forex market, the British Pound bounced from yesterday's new 3-month low to the Dollar, edging the Gold Price in Sterling back below £900 an ounce.

The Euro held steady against the Dollar and Yen, but fell to a fresh record low versus the Swiss Franc in Asian trade, with dealers reporting local "central bank trading" amid the drop.

The Gold Price in Euros has risen more than 38% so far in 2010. The Gold Price in Swiss Francs has also hit record highs.

"It looks as if the SNB will have to revoke its decision to stop intervening," says Steven Barrow, chief currency strategist at Standard Bank in London today.

The Swiss National Bank's version of quantitative easing saw it create new money this spring, actively sellin Francs to buy Euros in a bid to support its neighboring economies' currency.

"The Bank has already admitted that [Swiss economic] growth in 2011 will be one percentage point below the likely 2010 rate," Barrow says. "It has also had to nudge down its inflation forecasts, with the 0.4% rate seen for 2011 perilously close to outright deflation."

Here in the UK, Bank of England policy-maker Paul Fisher forecasts a possible return to recession in 2011, adding that further quantitative easing may be used – creating new money to buy and support government bond prices – if an "external shock" hits the economy.

"If you are going to do some you should do it confidently and of a reasonable size," Fisher tells The Telegraph in an interview.

US investors last week withdrew  a 2-year record of $8.6 billion from mutual bond funds, according to data from the Investment Company Institute.

Treasury bonds today held flat in Asian and early European trade, but German and UK government bonds both ticked higher, nudging interest rates further down from last week's multi-month highs.

Commenting on Wednesday's news that the International Monetary Fund has completed its 403-tonne Gold Bullion sale, "The fact that the IMF could sell over 400 tons of gold in such a short space of time, with no market disruption, demonstrates how deep and liquid the gold market is," says Natalie Dempster, now director of Government Affairs for market-development group the World Gold Council.

"It also reflects the fact that the majority of gold sales were conducted off market with central banks."

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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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