Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Gold prices edged up on Wednesday, holding above a technical stronghold at $1,275 an ounce, though the metal is vulnerable to further losses as investor demand remains slack, analysts said.
The bullion market found some support after Commerce Department data showed sales of new U.S. single-family homes tumbled to their lowest in eight months in March, pointing to a setback to the housing market recovery.
The yellow metal, sometimes seen as a safe haven, largely ignored news Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused the United States of being behind the political upheaval in Ukraine, saying Moscow would respond if its interests came under attack.
"The world is not taking huge strives for sanctions, and the conflict itself is not spilling over anywhere. That hasn't been enough of a news factor to provide support to gold prices," said Robert Haworth, senior investment strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management's Private Client Reserve.
Spot gold was up 0.1 percent at $1,284.50 an ounce by 3:16 p.m. EDT.
U.S. gold futures for June delivery settled up $3.50 an ounce at $1,284.60, with trading volume about 30 percent below its 30-day average, preliminary Reuters data showed.
Gold traded in a less than $10 range, holding above its 100-day moving average of $1,277 an ounce, after the previous session's fall to a 2-1/2-month low near that level.
"We continue to watch gold between the $1,275 and $1,280 level where key support is still apparent. If taken out, we could see rather heavy stop-loss selling set in," said Edward Meir, metals analyst at INTL FCStone.
Physical demand in Asia, which tends to provide some support at lower price levels, failed to emerge after Tuesday's drop as buyers expect more price declines, dealers said.
Demand has been quiet in top buyer China as a weaker yuan made it more expensive to buy dollar-denominated gold. China's yuan hit a 16-month low against the dollar on Wednesday.
Investment demand also remained weak with the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Trust, seeing sharp outflows in recent days. Last week alone, the fund's outflows totalled 9.3 tonnes, erasing all the gains made in the year.
Among other precious metals, silver was up 0.3 percent at $19.41 an ounce, while platinum rose 0.5 percent to $1,399.75 an ounce and palladium was up 0.4 percent at $783 an ounce.
Platinum group metals investors were digesting news that long talks aimed at ending a crippling three-month strike in South Africa's platinum sector will resume on Thursday, after the world's top producers and union AMCU spent two days haggling over an offer tabled last week by the companies.
That's all for now.