May 9, 2017 / 3:52 AM / 2 months ago

PRECIOUS-Gold hits near 8-week low as safe-haven demand fades

3 Min Read

    * Volatility index falls to 1993-low on Monday
    * SPDR Gold holdings drop 1.19 tonnes on Monday

 (Adds comments, updates prices)
    By Swati Verma
    BENGALURU, May 9 (Reuters) - Gold prices hit their lowest in
nearly eight weeks on Tuesday as safe-haven demand ebbed on
easing political worries after France's presidential election.
    Spot gold        was steady at $1,226.13 per ounce by 0810
GMT, after touching $1,223.34, its lowest since March 16.
    The metal tested its 100-day moving average earlier in the
session, but is holding above that line for the time being.
    U.S. gold futures         dropped 0.1 percent to $1,226.20
an ounce.
    "With one of the largest political risk events now cleared,
some consolidation is warranted, albeit political uncertainty
lingers in Italy and is likely to remain for some time," UBS
analyst Joni Teves said.
    "Further pressure cannot be ruled out for now, but we expect
bargain hunting to emerge and physical buying to strengthen
should the market test $1,200, paving the way for a recovery."
    Sunday's vote in France saw the market favourite, centrist
Emmanuel Macron, elected president.
    "Overall sentiment has been turning from risk aversion to
normalized risk tolerance levels, so we can see that demand for
gold has been decreasing," said Mark To, head of research at
Hong Kong's Wing Fung Financial Group.
    Elsewhere, Wall Street's volatility index       , which
measures implied volatility of stock options and is often seen
as an investor fear gauge, closed at 9.77 on Monday, its lowest
since December 1993.             
    "The fall of the volatility index further hollows out the
safe-haven bid that has underpinned gold for most of 2017.
Should volatility remain becalmed, gold may find itself on the
losing end of a deeper correction to the downside," said Jeffrey
Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA.
    The U.S. economy's weak performance at the start of the year
should slow Federal Reserve plans for further rate increases,
St. Louis Federal Reserve bank president James Bullard said on
Monday.             
    "Even though there may be some slowdown in economic recovery
for a very short time, Fed officials still think that this does
not impact the rate hike decision," To said.
    Gold, which is priced in dollars, could see demand take a
hit from higher rates as it pays no interest.
    Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust       fell 0.14 percent to
851.89 tonnes on Monday. Holdings have fallen over 8 tonnes in
the past two weeks.          
    Spot silver        was steady at $16.24 an ounce. 
    Platinum        fell 0.3 percent to $913.45 and palladium
       edged up 0.2 percent at $809.25.

 (Reporting by Swati Verma in Bengaluru; Editing by Joseph
Radford and Subhranshu Sahu)
  

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