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Commodities / Gold and Silver 2011 Feb 03, 2011 - 12:30 PM GMT

By: Adrian_Ash

Commodities

THE PRICE OF GOLD in US Dollars again retreated towards this week's lows beneath $1330 per ounce on Thursday in London, falling back as world stock markets and commodities both slipped.

Major-economy goverment bonds ticked higher. Silver prices dropped back towards last week's finish at $28 per ounce.


"The one thing to remember about silver is its very high correlation with gold," says Reuters Technical's Phil Smith, "better than 90% in fact, and the long-term gold charts are quite bearish at the moment."

After sliding more than 3% for the week so far, in contrast, the gold price in Euros spiked higher today after the European Central Bank held its interest rates at record lows, and ECB chief Jean-Claude Trichet gave a "dovish" forecast in his monthly press conference.

"We continue to see evidence of short-term upward pressure on overall inflation," said Trichet, blaming energy and food prices, and failing to promise the "vigilance" on inflation which some analysts had expected.

The Euro dropped 1.5¢ on Trichet's "accommodative policy stance", falling towards 1-week lows near $1.36.

French, German and Italian savers looking to buy gold saw it jump to €31,400 per kilo.

The gold price in British Pounds meantime rallied from new four-month lows at £816 per ounce.

"Inflation is in the end not a stimulus for growth and employment. Long term it has a negative influence," says Helmut Schlesinger, former president of Germany's Bundesbank, in an interview with the BBC World Service.

"Frankly speaking, the common source [of the surge in energy and food prices] is a monetary phenomenon...[caused by] the policy of central banks."

Over in Asia on Thursday, where the Shanghai and Hong Kong gold markets were closed for the Lunar New Year, "China is on the fast track to replace India as the largest physical [gold] consumer," reckons UBS precious metals strategist Edel Tully, speaking to the Financial Times.

"The Chinese New Year is now significantly more important than Diwali in volume terms."

Analysis by BullionVault also shows seasonal price-humps in the gold market steadily moving from October to February since China began liberalizing private gold buying a decade ago. (Read more about the shift in Gold from Diwali to Xīn Nián here...)

"The seasonality around Chinese new year is something that we've seen in the last two to three years," said a senior trader in Asia.

"This year the demand may actually also carry on after Chinese New Year," says a Chinese trader quoted by the paper.

"Demand is unbelievable. The size of the orders is enormous," says another, estimating that gold bullion imports to China – the world's No.1 gold-mining producer – jumped to 200 tonnes in the last 3 months.

Gold bullion imports in India, currently the world's No.1 consumer market, rose 18% last month from Jan. 2010 to hit 40 tonnes, according to early estimates from the Bombay Bullion Association.

Ahead of this month's wedding season, "Buying is moderate today," the Economic Times of India quotes a Mumbai bank dealer. But premiums above benchmark London gold prices held "above $2 an ounce," he adds.

"We are getting supplies with a lag of 10 days."

Back in Europe on Thursday, retail sales across the 350-million citizen Eurozone fell 0.9% in Dec. compared with Christmas 2009, new data showed today.

Germany's service-sector, in contrast, expanded at the fastest pace in almost 5 years.

Political leaders from the 17-nation single currency union meet on Friday in Brussels to agree the funding process for the Eurozone's €440 billion government-debt "stability" mechanism.

"We are desperately waiting for the [US] Non-Farm Payrolls on Friday," says Swiss refiner MKS's Finance division, "hoping that they will spice up the gold market a little."

Following the surprise rise in the private-sector ADP Payrolls report, Jan.'s official US jobs data "could be quite negative for the precious metal, should the numbers turn out to be positive," MKS reckons.

By Adrian Ash
BullionVault.com

Gold price chart, no delay   |   Buy gold online at live prices

Formerly 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 www.BullionVault.com , giving you direct access to investment gold, vaulted in Zurich , on $3 spreads and 0.8% dealing fees.

(c) BullionVault 2011

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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