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May 20, 2010
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Gold falls after recent record

May 20, 2010

(Reuters) - Gold hit a two-week low in Europe on Thursday 20 May, extending the previous session's 2.5 percent fall, as analysts said its recent rally was overdone, but ongoing concern about Europe's debt problems capped the price slide.

Palladium skidded nearly 11 percent to $407.98 an ounce, its lowest level since February15 and on track for its biggest daily percentage fall since late 2008, as analysts said a sharp rise in industrial precious metals earlier this year had been overdone. Platinum fell more than 5 percent.

Spot gold was bid at $1,180.35 an ounce at 1213 GMT (8:13 a.m. EDT), against $1,190.75 late in New York on Wednesday 19 May. It fell more than 1 percent to a day's low of $1,177.95, its lowest since May. 6, falling from record highs above $1,200 last week.

Bullion dropped on Wednesday 19 May, as Germany's decision to ban short selling on some financial assets unnerved financial markets and prompted investors to liquidate gold holdings to cover losses elsewhere.

"When gold hit highs last week we were looking for some correction," said Walter de Wet, an analyst at Standard Bank.

"I wouldn't be surprised if it tested $1,170."

But he, and other analysts, said gold looked well supported looking ahead.

"Problems in the euro area should continue to provide some support. These debt problems are not going to go away overnight," he said. "Gold will continued to have this increased safe haven status."

The euro fell 1 percent in volatile trading due to uncertainty over unity in the euro zone.

While gold has traditionally moved in line with the euro, that correlation has slackened this year as investors turn to bullion to protect against heavy losses in the single currency.

Oil fell some 2 percent to below $69 a barrel, hit by concerns about demand in the euro zone, while European shares were sharply lower.


Investment demand for gold was firm, with holdings of the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, New York's SPDR Gold Trust, rising to a record 1,220.152 tonnes on Wednesday 19 May.

Strong inflows into U.S. and European ETFs, plus a recovery in sales of gold coins and bars, helped spark a price rise to a record $1,248.50 an ounce last week. The current correction notwithstanding, analysts believe its uptrend will resume.

"It has proven to be resilient, and not a market to stand in front of whilst it's motoring," said Peter Hillyard, head of metals sales at ANZ Bank in London.

"Even though gold comes off from time to time, its recovery is usually harder, stronger and more credible, so the market has learned to stay long or buy dips."

Technical analysts, who study charts of past price moves to determine the future direction of prices, say gold could retrace a little further before any recovery. Strong support is seen at $1,184, and below that in the $1,169-$1,171 area.

Platinum traded at $1,512 an ounce against $1,600, its lowest since February25, while palladium was at $413.70 against $457. Palladium in particular incurred fund selling, analysts said.

"The question now is, will investors cut their ETF exposure or view the dip as a buying opportunity given the improving fundamental outlook for both metals?" said James Moore, an analyst at TheBullionDesk.com.

Silver was bid at $17.74 an ounce against $18.13.

(Editing by Amanda Cooper)

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