Gold prices jump to two-and-a-half-month highs
LONDON — Gold prices hit their highest since June 6 on Tuesday as the dollar slid to a six-week low against a currency basket and stock markets rallied, while platinum hit three-and-a-half-month highs as unrest simmered at Lonmin’s Marikana mine in South Africa.
A breach of chart resistance for gold at $1630/oz, which has held it in check since early June, sparked further technically driven buying, dealers said, fuelling momentum.
Spot gold hit a high of $1,638.30/oz was up 1% at $1,636.24/oz at 12.49pm GMT. US gold futures for December delivery were up $15.80 at $1,638.70.
"A break above $1,630/oz is very significant, as we breach the June-July and early August range," VTB Captial analyst Andrey Kryuchenkov said. "Buy orders were triggered, with the dollar index also slipping below support at 82, or early July lows."
"This is on speculation that the European Central Bank (ECB) will act," he added. "Peripheral bond purchases by the ECB are almost a done deal according to the broader market, which is euro supportive in the short run ... bullion as ever follows the cause, trading against the greenback."
Greece’s prime minister will meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and Eurogroup chief Jean-Claude Juncker this week to try to secure more funding from the European Union, International Monetary Fund and ECB.
European shares hit 13-month highs and the euro climbed on hopes that meetings on Greece’s future this week and new crisis plans being drawn up by the ECB will soothe the eurozone debt crisis.
German government bonds fell on Tuesday as markets focused on the prospect of ECB buying debt to contain Spanish borrowing costs.
Traders cited a story in British newspaper the Daily Telegraph, which said it could confirm earlier reports in German media that ECB experts were examining plans to effectively cap Spanish and Italian bond yields.
Platinum steadies off high
Platinum touched its highest since early May at $1,500.75/oz, and was later bid at $1,500/oz, up 1%. Its recent rise has made it this year’s best-performing precious metal, up more than 7% since the end of December.
The white metal has been the biggest climber of the past seven days, up more than $100/oz week on week on Tuesday, after police killed 34 people after an outbreak of interunion violence at a mine operated by Lonmin.
London-based Lonmin, the world’s third-largest platinum producer, on Monday extended its ultimatum for striking workers to return to duty to Tuesday morning, but workers continued to trickle in as the deadline expired.
The company said that 30% of the 28,000-strong workforce reported for work on Monday, with some shafts reporting 60% attendance. It conceded that sacking 3,000 striking workers at its Marikana mine could lead to more violence.
"We still suspect that platinum will likely have a hard time pushing past the $1,500/oz mark, especially if there is a marked easing of tensions," INTL FCStone said in a note. "More importantly, prices could be vulnerable once an announcement is made that units are starting to flow out.
"We should find out more over the next 24 hours ... our charts are showing the complex at the top end of the trading range."
Spot palladium, which also rode gold and platinum’s coat-tails to its highest since late June on Tuesday at $611.75, was up 1% at $609.25/oz.
Chinese platinum imports nearly doubled year on year in July, data from the customs authority showed on Tuesday.
Palladium imports fell 14% year on year, however, while silver imports fell 4%, the 22nd straight month of declines.
Silver was up 1.6% at $29.23/oz. Earlier it reached its highest since early June at $29.30/oz.
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