Spot market prices to buy gold climbed to $1794 an ounce ahead of Thursday’s US session, a new 2012 high, while stock markets were broadly flat and US Treasury bonds fell ahead of the publication of minutes from the latest Federal Reserve policy meeting.
“We are watching for a break to the upside through $1790 resistance, which will then target the all-time nominal high [at around $1920 per ounce],” say technical analysts at Scotiabank.
“A break through support at $1750 will lead to a deeper correction.”
Prices to buy gold in Sterling meantime rose to their highest level since the end of February at £1113 per ounce.
Prices to buy silver touched $35 an ounce – 1.4% up on the start of the week – while other commodities recovered some losses from yesterday, which saw oil prices fall to their lowest level in two months.
“We think that all these markets (including gold) will likely head south if the sell-off we had in energy morphs into a broader retrenchment over the days ahead,” reckons Ed Meir, at INTL FCStone.
Over in India – traditionally the world’s biggest sourced of demand to buy gold – “there is heavy demand,” one wholesaler in Chennai said Thursday, “because [prices] have come down on Rupee appreciation”.
“We have seen some steady demand for the last couple of weeks on the back of a stronger Rupee,” agrees a dealer at a bullion importing bank in Mumbai.
The Rupee is up more than 6% against the Dollar over the last month.
Here in London, the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee voted to leave interest rates at 0.5% for 45th month in a row Thursday. The Bank’s asset purchase program was held at £375 billion.
The European Central Bank meantime also left its main policy rate on hold at a historic low of 0.75%, to which the ECB cut rates in July.
“From an economic perspective, we don’t need another ECB rate cut,” said Christian Melzer, economist at Dekabank in Frankfurt, speaking before the decision was announced.
“The focus isn’t on rate changes but on Spain and a possible request for aid paving the way for the ECB bond program. It’s up to Spain to make a move now.”
The ECB announced last month that it would buy the debt of distressed Eurozone sovereigns on the open market with “no ex ante limits” as a way of reducing those countries’ borrowing costs – but only once a government has signed up to a bailout package.
Elsewhere in Europe, Slovenia may become the first country that was part of the Eastern Bloc to ask for a Eurozone bailout, Reuters reports.
Over in the US, the Federal Reserve publishes minutes later today of last month’s policy meeting, at which it announced an open-ended program of buying mortgage-backed securities. Fed chairman Ben Bernanke said the policy was about “trying to get jobs going”.
Tomorrow sees the release of September’s nonfarm payrolls report, which will estimate the number of private sector jobs the US economy added last month. The privately produced ADP Employment Report – seen by some as a precursor to the official nonfarms figure – was better than many analysts expected, suggesting private nonagricultural employment rose by 162,000 jobs last month.
August’s ADP report however was also better than consensus forecasts, while the official nonfarm report for that month turned out to be worse.
“With the Fed now focusing more intensely on US employment data, a poor [nonfarms] result would sufficiently re-energize the gold market’s attempts to push higher and help get past the $1800 psychological mark,” says Edel Tully, precious metals strategist at UBS in London.
Elsewhere in the US, news reports suggest Mitt Romney came out on top in the first of three televised debates with president Barack Obama last night, although “there was not a sense that either had made huge strides forwards, or backwards,” says Steve Barrow, head of G-10 research at Standard Bank.
“It remains to be seen whether the debate—and those to follow—have any bearing on the November 6 election outcome. We still take the view that Obama is likely to be the victor.”
A ship from Argentina’s navy has been seized while in port in Ghana, as part of efforts to recover funds lost when Argentina defaulted at the end of 2001, the Financial Times reports. The move follows an application to a Ghanaian court by NML Capital, a subsidiary of US hedge fund Elliott Capital Management.
“Vulture funds have crossed a new limit in their attacks on the Argentine republic,” the foreign ministry in Buenos Aires said.
In South Africa, strikes in the platinum and gold mining sectors have spread to Harmony Gold, where miners barricaded the main entrance to the Kusasalethu mine with burning tires. Gold One International meantime has suspended several employees who are refusing to work.
Ben Traynor | BullionVault