Gold hits 3-1/2 week high on Yemen crisis

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Gold hits 3-1/2 week high on Yemen crisis

Expectations that the Federal Reserve is on track to raise interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade knocked gold to four-month lows at $1,142.86 an ounce earlier this month.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Fri 27 Mar 2015, 10:53 PM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 7:33 PM

Gold rallied to a 3-1/2 week high on Thursday and silver rose nearly three per cent as unrest in parts of the Middle East knocked stocks and the dollar and drove investors into assets seen as lower risk, like bullion and German bonds.

Spot gold hit a peak of $1,219.40 an ounce and was up 1.2 per cent at $1,210.30 at 1028GMT, while US gold futures for April delivery were up $12.70 an ounce at $1,209.70.

That extended a rally in gold to a seventh session, its longest winning streak since 2012. Soft US data earlier this week boosted expectations the Federal Reserve would keep interest rates low for the time being, lifting gold.

“Overnight we have seen risk aversion because of what’s going on in the Middle East, and the dollar is weak, because data has been weaker,” ABN Amro analyst Georgette Boele said.

“The combination of dollar weakness and risk aversion is normally one where gold should do well.”

“I still believe we will see lower prices, but we need to have the environment for that, and at the moment the environment is the other way around.”

Expectations that the Federal Reserve is on track to raise interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade knocked gold to four-month lows at $1,142.86 an ounce earlier this month. Higher interest rates lift the dollar and the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion.

It bounced from that low, however, after the US central bank sounded caution over economic growth and the pace of any rate hikes after its policy meet last week.

Investors remained cautious over gold’s outlook with SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, continuing to see outflows. The fund’s holdings fell 0.2 percent to 743.21 tonnes on Wednesday.

Physical demand was also slowing due to the rally in prices. In China, the second-biggest gold consumer, premiums - an indication of demand - eased to about $2-$3 an ounce, compared with $6-$7 last week.

China’s gold imports from Hong Kong fell in February from the previous month, data showed on Thursday, as purchases slowed ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday.

Among other precious metals, platinum was up 0.6 percent at $1,153.25 an ounce, while palladium was up 1 percent at $770.39 an ounce.

Silver prices outperformed gold to rise 2.7 percent in early trade, hitting a three-month high at $17.38. It was later up 1.5 percent at $17.19 an ounce. 



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