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Gold Rally Dented by the Return of Risk Appetite

Commodities / Gold and Silver 2011 Jun 01, 2011 - 09:02 AM GMT

By: Ben_Traynor


THE SPOT MARKET price of gold bullion dropped overnight, before beginning Wednesday morning London time by trading in a tight range around $1532 per ounce – up 1.3% from the start of last week – while stocks and commodities were flat. 

The Euro held steady above $1.44 following reports that a new bailout for Greece could be agreed by the end of the week.

Silver prices meanwhile hovered around $38 per ounce, where they have spent the last week.

Taking May as a whole, however, silver was more volatile than at any time since May 1987 – with price volatility nearly four times greater than its 40-year average. 

Daily volatility for gold, by contrast, was almost exactly in line last month with its average of the last four decades.

"[Gold was] slowed down by the return of risk appetite," says Swiss precious metals group MKS. 

"However, judging by the instability of...the Eurozone debt situation we could see a return to risk aversion very soon."

"Some investors are emboldened by signs that Greece will get a bailout and avoid default, and are selling their gold," says Hwang Il Doo, senior trader at KEB Futures in Seoul. "Minor losses are inevitable for gold to extend its bull run."

A team of inspectors from Greece's troika of creditors – the EU, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund – are currently in Athens discussing the terms of a new bailout – reported by Reuters on Wednesday to be worth around €65 billion.

Greek newspaper Kathimerini says talks will be completed by Thursday at the latest. 

"It is hard to see a very rapid rally in the euro from here while the discussion continues in public," says Adrian Schmidt, economist at Lloyds Banking group. "[But] we suspect the worst of the crisis is over."

"We are getting to a situation where markets are getting a feel that the European policymakers will get Greece back on track," adds Audrey Childe-Freeman, head of European currency strategy at JPMorgan Chase.

"This is not a country-specific crisis; it is a systemic crisis across the whole Eurozone," counters Standard Bank currency strategist Steve Barrow.

"If Greece receives a second bailout soon it's likely to do little more than raise the pressure across the region, both on those that have been bailed out already and on those that could be bailed out in the future."

Barrow adds that even kicking Greece out of the Euro would not solve the problem, but would "merely raise the contagion threat".

"I don't think we are close to having [the Greek debt crisis] completely solved yet, and the [Gold Bullion] market will remain skeptical and well supported," says Darren Heathcote, head of trading at Investec Australia.

Over in India – the world's largest gold bullion market – demand has been "dull" since the Hindu festival of Akshaya Tritiya on May 6, Prithviraj Kothari, president of the Bombay Bullion Association, told the Wall Street Journal earlier this week.

"There is no demand for silver. Gold is quoting at a discount [to international prices]."
Akshaya Tritiya is typically the second-heaviest gold-buying season. Demand typically peaks around Diwali, which falls in the fourth quarter.

Indian GDP, meanwhile, was up 7.8% in the first quarter of 2011, compared to the same period last year, according to latest figures from the Central Statistics Office. This compares to a gain of 8.3% year on year for the previous quarter.

"With output at or above potential, [India's] economy faces a natural speed limit," says Leif Lybecker Eskesen, chief economist for India at HSBC. "The elevated level of inflation will also in itself dent growth, including by raising uncertainties about economic prospects until it is firmly under control." 

By Ben Traynor

Gold price chart, no delay   |   Buy gold online at live prices

Editor of Gold News, the analysis and investment research site from world-leading gold ownership service BullionVault, Ben Traynor was formerly editor of the Fleet Street Letter, the UK's longest-running investment letter. A Cambridge economics graduate, he is a professional writer and editor with a specialist interest in monetary economics.

(c) BullionVault 2011

Please Note: This article is to inform your thinking, not lead it. Only you can decide the best place for your money, and any decision you make will put your money at risk. Information or data included here may have already been overtaken by events – and must be verified elsewhere – should you choose to act on it.

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