By: Adrian Ash, BullionVault
London Gold Market Report
THE PRICE OF BOTH gold and silver bullion were little changed in London trade on Friday, unmoved by unexpectedly weak US jobs data near two- and 3-week highs respectively.
Adding 36,000 net jobs in Jan., the US economy still saw unemployment slip from 9.5% to 9.0% as a growing number of “discouraged” people – no longer seeking work actively – fell out of the official definition.
Major government bonds slipped as European stock markets rose, while Brent crude oil pushed above $101 per barrel.
As the start of New York trade approached, the gold price for both Dollar and Euro investors neared its first weekly gain in five.
“Counterbalancing factors [have] largely offset each other,” says the latest gold market analysis from French bank – and London bullion dealer – Natixis.
“Investment outflows and a drop in peripheral European [bond insurance] rates would have been expected to depress gold prices, but an increase in demand from India and China due to the festive season opposed these negative factors.”
Shrinking by almost one-fifth since New Year’s Eve, open interest in US gold futures rose by 2.9% on Thursday, the first sizeable increase in the number of live contracts so far in 2011.
The giant SPDR Gold fund meantime added another 2 tonnes to the bullion backing its shares, recovering a 6-session high of 1229 tonnes, held in trust at HSBC bank in London.
“The situation in Egypt and the reaction of GCC countries…might present gold with a new dynamic,” says Natixis, noting both that private gold demand in emerging nations is typically driven by economic growth and also that the Kuwaiti government this week “decided to hand out” some US$4 billion in cash and $1bn-worth of food to its 1.15 million citizens.
“Were other countries to follow this lead, we might expect a substantial increase in household income and spending in the region, which would be clearly beneficial to Middle East demand for gold.”
Both the Euro and British Pound fell vs. the Dollar on Friday’s US jobs news, nudging the gold price for both Eurozone and UK investors higher from Thursday’s sharp jump.
“Gold surprised to the upside,” said Scotia Mocatta’s client note last night, shifting the bullion bank’s view from “from bearish to neutral.”
“Gold made a decisive move above a resistance line,” says another wholesale dealer’s technical analysis, “helped by the perception that Fed policy would remain accommodative.”
Both US Fed chairman Bernanke and Eurozone central-bank chief Trichet told reporters on Thursday that their current near-zero interest-rate policies are “appropriate” despite rising inflation data.
Gold Trading had been quiet, however, counters MKS Finance in Geneva, with Far East markets closed for Chinese New Year. “Tied to its range” at first, the Gold Price hit buy-stop and stop-loss orders late in the New York session.
“Technical trading, which might have triggered some short covering, was most likely responsible for the speed and extent of the move in gold,” reckons James Zhang at Standard Bank in London.
Finance and commodity markets remained shut across China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore on Friday.
Also in Thailand, “Gold has become more popular among young people” as a Lunar New Year’s gift, the Xinhua news agency quotes Jitti Tangsithpakdi, president of Bangkok’s Gold Trader Association.
“We expect a better sale this year as gold price has recently dropped slightly.”
Far Eastern gold bullion markets have been tight in the run-up to the increasingly strong consumer-buying period around Chinese New Year, with Hong Kong premiums above benchmark London prices reaching 7-year highs at $4 per ounce.
Formerly City correspondent for The Daily Reckoning in London and head of editorial at the UK’s leading financial advisory for private investors, Adrian Ash is the editor of Gold News and head of research at BullionVault – winner of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise Innovation, 2009 and now backed by the World Gold Council market-development and research body – where you can buy gold today vaulted in Zurich on $3 spreads and 0.8% dealing fees.
(c) BullionVault 2011
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