Nov 9, 2010
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Gold hits new record as euro zone fears resurface

Nov 9, 2010

(Reuters) - Gold hit record highs for a fourth day in a row on Tuesday, as fresh concern over the debt burdens of several euro zone member countries prompted safe-haven buying, while palladium rallied for a fifth day.

Silver touched $28.90 an ounce, the highest since March 1980, palladium saw $732.50 an ounce, its highest since April 2001. Platinum hit $1,795.50, its highest since July 2008.

Spot gold hit $1,422.30 a troy ounce and was bid at $1,419.50 an ounce at 1540 GMT from $1,409.09 late in New York on Monday. U.S. gold futures also hit a record $1,422.10 an ounce.

"European investors are worried about the euro, real rates are very low and set to stay low for a long time, so the opportunity cost of investing in gold is tiny," said Citi analyst David Thurtell. "Lots of good reasons to buy it and not many to sell it," he added.

The premium investors demand to hold Irish and Portuguese government debt shot to record highs, driven by concern about funding and potential default, which in turn pushed the euro down against the yen and tempered its gains versus the U.S. dollar.

"It just seems that ... with worries about peripheral European countries like Ireland, there's a little bit of a safe-haven factor there," Thurtell said.

Gold priced in euros has rallied by over 7 percent in the last five trading days, rising to its highest since late June this year.


"We have a combination: inflation fears, currency market uncertainty, fears about the financial strength of some countries," said Alexander Zumpfe of Heraeus Metals.

Zumpfe said remarks by World Bank President Robert Zoellick that leading economies should consider readopting a modified gold standard, had also helped reignite interest in the precious metal.

Worries about price pressures were reinforced last week by the U.S. Federal Reserve, which announced further monetary policy easing to help boost economic growth in the world's largest economy, the United States.

News that the Fed would buy back $600 billion of U.S. government bonds initially weakened the dollar and propelled commodity prices higher, particularly gold, which has gained nearly 30 percent this year so far.

Investor demand, which had slackened recently, picked up, as reflected by the first inflow into the SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, since October 13.

Also on the radar is this week's G20 summit. Officials from Germany, Brazil, China and South Africa are among those expressing concern that the Fed's policy could weaken the dollar and drive up commodity prices.

If the G20 fails to defuse global tensions, it may heighten investor concerns that policymakers are drifting further apart, leaving the world economy vulnerable.

"There is a lot of uncertainty ahead of the G20 meeting. If there are no surprises we may see a correction afterwards," said David Wilson, analyst at Societe Generale.

"Gold is using any excuse to go higher."

Traders think the target to this rally is $1,475 an ounce. "Beyond that $1,500 is only a short ride," one trader said, adding high seasonal physical demand was another factor behind the rise in precious metal prices.

Palladium rose by almost 3 percent on the day to $726.22 an ounce, marking its fifth consecutive daily rally and putting it on track for a ninth weekly increase.

Palladium has risen by almost 80 percent so far this year, fueled by demand from investors who are keen to tap into the metal's exposure to China, where it is used in the country's booming, gasoline-powered auto sector in autocatalysts.

Spot silver was bid at $28.77 an ounce from $27.69 late in New York on Monday and palladium was at $725.50 from $705.22.

Platinum was bid at $1,789.00 an ounce compared with $1,771.50 late in New York on Monday.

(Additional reporting by Pratima Desai; Editing by Anthony Barker)

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