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Gold Rises on Safe-Haven Demand

Commodities / Gold & Silver 2009 May 06, 2009 - 07:48 AM GMT

By: Adrian_Ash


THE SPOT PRICE of Gold rose early Wednesday in Asia and London, recording a morning Gold Fix of $903.50 an ounce as emerging-world stock markets rose yet again, adding 41% from March's low.

Base metals and energy prices also pushed higher, and crude oil broke back above $54 per barrel as government bond prices fell.

That knocked 10-year US Treasury yields further above 3.0%. Ten-year UK gilt yields rose to 3.56% – sharply above mid-March's all-time record lows beneath 3.0%.

"Gold caught a lot of people out yesterday as what looked like a break out of the recent consolidation pattern turned into a sharp reversal as gold closed on the lows," noted London dealer Mitsui in its Wednesday morning comment.

"The market needs to close above $905 to give a positive signal. If not, the consolidation pattern remains firm."

As world equities rose early Wednesday – with Hong Kong shares gaining for the fifth session running to hit a 7-month high – "There's a general buying of commodities, including gold, that's offsetting the usual safe-haven buying trend," said Dan Smith at Standard Chartered in London to Bloomberg this morning.

"Funds are generally looking to increase their exposure to commodities."

"The relationship between the Gold Price and what we might term signs of economic optimism – such as rising share and commodity prices – has not always been consistent," agrees the latest Asian Metals Monthly from Virtual Metals, published for Fortis Bank, "and there have been many occasions where gold has been boosted by general exuberance."

Casting doubt on the "green shoots" rally in global markets, however – and noting that gold's mid-April falls were due to a "bout of recoveryitis" in risk assets – the team believe the current "see-sawing [in Gold] is likely to continue but with a negative trend unless there are clear signs of renewed economic woe."

Overnight in the US, Bank of America was rumored to need as much as $34 billion in extra capital following the Federal Reserve's "stress tests" of 19 top banks.

A Bank of America spokesman declined to comment, but together with Monday's leak that 10 leading banks will be required to raise additional cash, press coverage of the stress tests "negates the whole point" according to Jaidev Iyer, ex-risk manager at Citigroup and now a bank-risk analyst.

New data from real-estate website Zillow meantime claimed that one-in-five US mortgages is now in negative equity, with the outstanding debt greater than the potential re-sale value at today's prices.

Average US Home Prices fell 14.2% in the last 12 months, Zillow says in its latest Real Estate Market Report, covering 161 urban regions. The loss to home-owner wealth since New Year's Day is put at more than $700 billion.

Across the Pacific, the People's Bank of China forecast a return to strong economic growth in 2010, but warned that "As more and more economies start to implement extraordinary monetary policies like Quantitative Easing, risks of major currency depreciation may grow."

Thursday's interest-rate decision from the European Central Bank (ECB) – expected to see a new record cut to just 1.0% – has been widely trailed by ECB policy-makers to include "non conventional" measures, taken to mean creating money to buy long-dated government bonds and thus inject cash into the 16-nation economy.

"[But] if central banks cannot mop up the huge liquidity when economic recovery comes through," warns the People's Bank of China today, "asset bubbles and inflation may once again be triggered."

Currently hoarding base metals such as copper at multi-year lows, the People's Bank grew China's Gold Reserves by 75% in the last five years, taking it to No.5 in the league table of gold-owning central banks.

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 2009

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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