Gold falls 1 pct to eight-week low on firm dollar

LONDON - Gold slipped 1 percent to its weakest point in eight weeks on Friday as the dollar firmed to a five-month high against the euro, denting the precious metal's appeal as a currency hedge, and as oil prices fell.

By (Reuters)

Published: Fri 8 Aug 2008, 6:55 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 11:51 AM

Gold was at $861.40/862.40 an ounce at 0957 GMT, down from $871.05/872.45 late in New York. Earlier the metal hit a session low of $860.95 an ounce, an eight-week trough.

Commerzbank trader Rory McVeigh said the precious metal's decline was down to "dollar strength today, (with) dwindling commodity prices as a backdrop".

Commodities are posting losses almost across the board, with copper, coffee, sugar and oil all declining.

Crude slipped more than $1 a barrel as supply fears eased, and as the firmer dollar prompted funds to exit commodities.

Barclays Capital said in a note: "The summer doldrums have well and truly hit the commodity markets."

"Sentiment has turned extremely negative and prices have fallen across a broad range of different markets, irrespective of differing fundamental dynamics and outlooks."

The commodity markets are being pressured by concern over the growth outlook in the OECD and worries over falling oil prices, the bank said, as well as regulatory risk.

While the sell-off of commodities is pressuring gold, the precious metal will chiefly take its cue from the currency markets on Friday, analysts said.

The dollar is holding near a five-month high against the euro, which has been weakening since European Central Bank president Jean-Claude Trichet expressed caution over the growth outlook on Thursday.

Traders interpreted his comments as a sign a euro zone rate hike is unlikely in the near future.

The U.S. currency also surged against the pound, while the dollar index struck a five-month high as the economic global slowdown dented confidence in other currencies.

Six-month silver low

Silver declined in gold's wake, pressured by the firmer dollar and faltering investor confidence in commodities.

Silver bullion held by the iShares Silver Trust, the world's largest silver-backed exchange-traded fund, fell 1 percent to 6,197.33 tonnes on Thursday, the trust said.

Spot silver fell to $15.77/15.82 an ounce from $16.14/16.23. Earlier it touched a 6-1/2-month low of $15.73 an ounce.

Among other precious metals, spot platinum eased to $1,559.00/1,579.00 an ounce from $1,572.00/1,592.00 late in New York.

The metal has steadied since falling sharply at the beginning of the week to fresh six-month lows. Platinum prices dropped $180 an ounce in three sessions as investors worried over the outlook for demand.

"We do not see a substantial and sudden recovery in platinum prices in this environment as falling demand brings the supply/demand deficit closer to balance and as ETF sales push prices lower," said Fairfax analyst John Meyer.

Spot palladium dipped to $340.00/348.00 an ounce from $344.00/352.00 late in New York.

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