Gold climbs on strong physical demand

LONDON - Gold rose in Europe on Wednesday as strong investor interest in coins and bars and resurgent jewellery demand supported prices after a recent dip. Gold was at $813.10/814.10 an ounce at 1304 GMT against $810.70/811.90 an ounce late in New York on Tuesday, well above the nine-month low of $773.90 it touched on Friday.

By (Reuters)

Published: Wed 20 Aug 2008, 9:48 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 11:55 AM

"The stability in prices we have seen over the last few days has been enough to ensure a decent uptick in interest from the consumer side," said Daniel Hynes, metals strategist at Merrill Lynch.

"We are approaching a seasonally high demand period as well," he added.

Demand for certain finished products is so high that refiners are struggling to keep up, analysts say.

Gold climbed to a one-week high in Asia, pulling other precious metals in its wake, as demand picked up in India, the world's biggest market for gold, and elsewhere on the continent.

Indian buyers are also likely to step up purchases ahead of a series of key religious festivals that culminate in October with Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights.

A slightly firmer tone to the dollar, which is regaining some ground against the euro on Wednesday morning after the previous session's fall, is limiting gold's rise, however.

Oil climbed above $116 a barrel as traders eyed U.S. weekly oil stockpile data due out at 1435 GMT for clues as to the future direction of the crude market.

Any move in crude prices is likely to impact gold, which is often bought as a hedge against oil-led inflation.

"The consensus is for a build of crude oil inventories but a strong draw of gasoline stockpiles, which already had an impact on oil prices yesterday," said Dresdner Kleinwort consultant Peter Fertig.

"(If) the draw in gasoline inventories remains far below forecasts, crude oil might head towards the $110 a barrel mark, which would be bearish for gold," he added.

Gold ETF holdings dip

The SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest bullion-backed exchange-traded fund, said it recorded its first outflow in two weeks on Aug. 19, as its gold holdings dipped 1 percent.

ETFs issue securities backed by physical commodities, and buying by the funds has represented a major source of demand in recent years. Analysts fear a sell-off of ETFs' gold holdings could knock spot prices lower.

Among other precious metals, spot silver was little changed at $13.16/13.22 from $13.15/13.21 in late New York trade on Tuesday.

The world's largest silver-backed ETF, the iShares Silver Trust, said its silver holdings rose 1 percent on Tuesday to a record 6,304.93 tonnes.

Spot platinum edged up to $1,352.50/1,372.50 an ounce from $1,344.50/1,364.50 late in New York, while palladium was steady at $280.50/288.50 an ounce from $280.00/288.00.

Interest in the metals remains muted by the murky outlook for carmakers, who consume over half of the world's platinum.

UBS said on Wednesday it has altered its short-term forecasts for platinum, palladium and silver.

The bank said that per ounce it now expects platinum to trade to $1,550 in one month and $1,700 in three months, palladium at $300 and $350 in one and three months respectively, and silver at $14.70 in one month and $16.40 in three months.

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