Gold falls more than 2 pct on dollar, oil

LONDON - Gold fell more than 2 percent on Wednesday as the dollar climbed to its firmest level since July 10 against the euro, denting the precious metal's appeal as a currency hedge.

By (Reuters)

Published: Wed 23 Jul 2008, 10:14 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 12:56 PM

Oil prices fell below $126 a barrel, helping to soothe some of the inflation fears that have supported gold, while other commodities such as grains and base metals also slipped.

Gold dropped to $923.70/924.70 an ounce at 1450 GMT from $948.30/949.90 late in New York on Tuesday, having hit an intraday low of $921.80 -- its lowest level since July 9.

HSBC analyst James Steel said a combination of weaker oil prices, declines in other commodities, an improvement in the credit market and the belief that the Fed may be focusing more on inflation are all conspiring to push gold lower.

"Gold has four major things hitting it today so I would be very suprised, given the way other commodities and financial markets are moving, if gold wasn't down," he said.

The dollar rallied to a two-week high against the euro, supported by a slide in the oil price and a recovery in risk appetite. A stronger greenback tends to pressure gold, which is often bought as an alternative investment to the currency.

Crude prices were also lower, giving up more than $2 a barrel trade at $126.05 a barrel at 1451 GMT, as concerns eased that Hurricane Dolly would hit oil installations in the Gulf of Mexico, and after a rise in U.S. gasoline stocks.,

Gold usually moves in the same direction as crude, as it is often bought as a hedge against oil-led inflation.

Investor interest in gold seemed to be softening, with the amount of gold held to back the SPDR Gold Trust in New York -- the world's biggest gold-backed exchange-traded fund -- falling 2 percent to 690.26 tonnes on Tuesday.

Holdings previously had been close to a record.

PGMs decline

The platinum group metals also posted sharp losses, with platinum sliding to a 5-1/2 month low and palladium slumping more than 5 percent, in sympathy with gold and amid fears over demand from car manufacturers.

The precious metal is widely used by the car industry in catalytic converters.

General Motors said on Wednesday that its global sales fell 5 percent in the second quarter, hurt by a 20 percent decline in North America.

An earlier report said carmaker Toyota may cut its sales target this year.

The reports suggest "a weakening auto market, and consequently less demand from the auto-catalyst market," said Fairfax metals analyst John Mayer.

Platinum prices in particular have slipped sharply over the last 10 days, which the noble metal currently trading nearly 25 percent below its March peak of $2,290 an ounce.

However, with output from major producer South Africa -- supplier of 80 percent of the world's platinum -- still constrained by a power shortage, analysts say the market remains firmly underpinnned, and should not fall too much further.

Platinum "looks increasingly good value at current levels", according to Mitsubishi analyst Tom Kendall.

Spot platinum touched a session low of $1,730.00 an ounce, its weakest level since February 1, before recovering to trade at $1,733.00/1,753.00 against $1,800.50/1,820.50 an ounce in New York.

Spot palladium dropped to $380.00/388.00 an ounce from $405.50/413.50 late in New York, having earlier touched an intraday low of $377.50.

Among other precious metals, spot silver tracked gold lower to $17.54/17.59 an ounce, against $18.00/18.08 late in New York on Tuesday.

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