PRECIOUS-Gold holds near two-week high on euro zone concerns

Wed Mar 13, 2013 6:47am GMT

* Gold's rise could be short-lived; fundamentals little
changed
    * Spot gold technical signals mixed
    * Coming up: euro zone industrial production; 1000 GMT

 (Updates prices)
    By Rujun Shen
    SINGAPORE, March 13 (Reuters) - Gold traded in a barely
three-dollar range on Wednesday, holding near a 1-1/2-week high
it hit in the previous session when Germany's central bank
expressed concerns about the euro zone crisis and the European
Central Bank's moves to stem it.
    Germany's Bundesbank said the euro zone crisis, which has
eased as a result of the ECB's funding promises, was not over,
and that it had set aside billions more euros against what it
deems risky ECB moves. 
    The remark sent gold above $1,585 an ounce, the upper
boundary of a recent trading range, on a combination of
safe-haven demand and technical buying, though the bounce may
not last long as gold is still under pressure from an improving
economic outlook.
    "The price rise yesterday will not sustain as there was no
major change in fundamentals," said Chen Min, an analyst at
Jinrui Futures in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, adding
that gold is still feeling a downwards pull.
    "We'll see strong influence from technicals on prices as
there isn't much data on the plate this week."
    Technical signals on spot gold are mixed, however, said
Reuters market analyst Wang Tao, with it unclear if a wave c
would extend. 
    Investors will be watching the all-important policy meeting
of the Federal Reserve on March 19-20, to gauge the central
bank's attitude towards monetary stimulus. 
    An exit from the stimulus would deal a heavy blow to gold,
which has thrived on demand from investors who buy gold to hedge
against the inflationary risks of loose monetary policies. 
    Spot gold was little changed at $1,592.81 an ounce at
0636 GMT, down just 0.3 percent from the $1,598.2 high of the
previous session, its highest since Feb. 28.
    U.S. gold traded nearly flat at $1,591.90.
    
    Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world's biggest
gold-backed, exchange-traded fund, fell for a fourth straight
session to 1,236.307 tonnes on March 12, its lowest since
October 2011. The outflow this year of 114.51 tonnes has more
than wiped out last year's inflow of 96.25 tonnes.
    Though investors remained lukewarm towards gold, large short
positions in U.S. gold would add to the fuel should gold prices
rise past another key technical level, as traders would be
forced to close bearish positions to limit losses.
    "There is a good possibility of short-covering when
something happens," said Yuichi Ikemizu, head of commodity
trading, Japan, at Standard Bank.
    
      Precious metals prices 0636 GMT
  Metal             Last    Change  Pct chg  YTD pct chg    Volume
  Spot Gold        1592.81    0.72   +0.05     -4.88
  Spot Silver        29.09   -0.01   -0.03     -3.93
  Spot Platinum    1587.74   -7.26   -0.46      3.44
  Spot Palladium    766.75   -3.75   -0.49     10.80
  COMEX GOLD APR3  1591.90    0.20   +0.01     -5.01        11158
  COMEX SILVER MAY3  29.11   -0.07   -0.23     -3.72         3508
  Euro/Dollar       1.3040
  Dollar/Yen         95.72
  COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months
 
 (Editing by Daniel Magnowski)
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