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Gold and Stocks Rise on Fed Interest Rate Cut Expectations

Commodities / Gold & Silver Aug 23, 2007 - 08:59 AM GMT

By: Adrian_Ash


SPOT GOLD PRICES rose to a one-week early Thursday, gaining $2.50 from the previous night's US close and recording a Morning Fix of $662.25 per ounce in London

Gold leasing rates also rose strongly, hitting their highest level since Nov. 2003, as London 's largest bullion banks demanded a greater rate of return for lending their gold over the coming 12 months.

European stock markets rose and Wall Street futures turned higher after Bank of America announced a $2 billion cash-loan to ailing US mortgage lender, Countrywide. Bank of America is one of four major US banks that borrowed $500 million each from the Federal Reserve on Wednesday.

"The flight-to-quality bid [in US bonds] is being quickly unwound as markets settle down," said Kenny Borowicz, a futures broker at M.F. Global in Singapore , to Bloomberg. "Equities continue to push higher and people continue to reprice the likelihood of an imminent easing by the Fed."

As two-year Dollar bond prices slipped and yields rose, the interest-rate charged on one-year gold bullion loans rose faster still in London. The gap widened to 0.45% above the cost of interbank US Dollar loans according to data from the London Bullion Market Association.

"If people are not investing in bonds, they have to put their money somewhere else and that's equities or alternative investments such as gold," says Walter de Wet at Standard Bank in Johannesburg .

"The real driver [of today's gains] is confidence in the financial markets."

In Tokyo the broad Topix index of Japanese equities added 3% by the close, while Tocom gold futures for delivery in June '08 gained nearly 2% against the Yen. Tokyo gold prices ended the session near unchanged in Dollar terms, however, as the Japanese currency weakened sharply on the forex markets after the Bank of Japan voted to keep Yen interest rates on hold for the fifth month in a row at just 0.5%.

High-yielding currencies including the New Zealand Dollar rose 2% by lunchtime in London . The Kiwi Dollar has now regained half of the losses it suffered when the Yen rallied sharply during the world stock-market sell-off starting three weeks ago.

"The [gold] charts look better although I think gold needs to break $670 to sustain the uptrend," said one Singapore gold dealer to Reuters earlier today. "Also, there's still a lack of buying interest from the securities side and other big boys."

While Asian investors remain cautious on gold, however, "physical demand has been reported in India and the Middle East , especially in the form of jewelry," said Pradeep Unni of Vision Commodity Services in Dubai to Bloomberg today.

"During the last eight months, $640 has served as a strong support. Each time gold touches that level, there is a substantial rally."

Physical gold sales in the Indian sub-continent are now due to rise sharply as the harvest festival season draws near. Gold jewelry sales traditionally peak in early Nov. with Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights.

" India is picking up a little bit after the low season," confirms Ellison Chu at Standard Bank in Hong Kong . "We saw people shop around...[but] maybe some physical users, not investors."

Total gold demand in China , Taiwan and Hong Kong rose by more than one quarter between April and June, said the World Gold Council on Wednesday, hitting 85.5 tonnes. Mainland demand rose by 32% following the start of the "Year of the Pig" in the Chinese zodiac. 2007 in fact marks the year of the "Golden Pig" on the lunar calendar, an auspicious time in Chinese tradition occurring just once every six decades.

Back in the gold market, meantime, the Euro Price of Gold hit a week's high above €490 per ounce even as the single currency jumped above $1.3580.

The British Pound leapt more than a cent above $2.0077 despite a weak data report for business investment. That move failed to stop the Sterling Price of Gold reaching £333 per ounce for the first time since last Thursday.

By Adrian Ash

Gold price chart, no delay | Free Report: 5 Myths of the Gold Market
City correspondent for The Daily Reckoning in London and a regular contributor to MoneyWeek magazine, Adrian Ash is the editor of Gold News and head of research at , giving you direct access to investment gold, vaulted in Zurich , on $3 spreads and 0.8% dealing fees.

(c) BullionVault 2007

Please Note: This article is to inform your thinking, not lead it. Only you can decide the best place for your money, and any decision you make will put your money at risk. Information or data included here may have already been overtaken by events – and must be verified elsewhere – should you choose to act on it.

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