Gold hits record high as dollar slides
By Jan Harvey
LONDON (Reuters) - Gold rose to record highs above $1,115 an ounce on Monday as the dollar slid to 15-month lows, with hopes for a global economic recovery and gains in equity markets boosting the appeal of higher-yielding currencies.
Gold is poised for further gains, analysts said, with the weak dollar helping the metal build on a rally that began last week after the IMF sold 200 tonnes of bullion to India's central bank, raising the prospect of more official sector buying.
Spot gold hit a high of $1,117.05 an ounce and was at $1,115.30 at 0956 GMT (5:56 a.m. EST) versus $1,105.30 late in New York on Tuesday. U.S. gold futures for December delivery on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange rose $13.30 to $1,115.80.
"The way gold keeps accelerating away from its previous highs is quite incredible," said Saxo Bank senior manager Ole Hansen. "Continued momentum is driving prices higher. Whenever we see new highs, we see more momentum buying."
The dollar index fell a quarter of a percent to a 15-month low of 74.831 and the euro rose to a two-week peak within sight of last month's 2009 high of just over $1.5060.
Comments from Dallas Federal Reserve President Richard Fisher on Tuesday that the dollar's depreciation has so far been orderly encouraged the market to continue betting against the U.S. currency.
Weakness in the unit boosts gold's appeal as an alternative asset, and makes dollar-priced commodities cheaper for holders of other currencies.
"Dollar weakness is the main trigger this morning," said
Wolfgang Wrzesniok-Rossbach, head of sales at precious metals
Gold prices also rose in non-dollar terms. Euro-denominated gold reached its highest since March at 742.87 euros.
VIETNAM ALLOWS IMPORTS
Also helping the market was a report that Vietnam's central bank will allow imports of gold -- banned since May last year -- after bullion prices rose sharply in recent days, potentially opening up a new source of demand.
Physical gold demand was relatively slack in Asia, with traders in India -- the world's biggest bullion consumer last year -- keeping to the sidelines as prices rose.
"We did a few deals yesterday, but the market has turned quiet today. Traders are enquiring, but aren't materializing," said Pinakin Vyas, chief manager-treasury at IndusInd Bank in Mumbai.
Interest in gold exchange-traded funds also remained soft, with holdings of the largest bullion-backed ETF, New York's SPDR Gold Trust, unchanged on Tuesday. <GOL/SPDR>
But with the prospect of persistent dollar weakness boosting fund interest in gold and further central bank bullion purchases seen as a real possibility, the outlook for gold prices is seen as rosy.
U.S. investment bank Goldman Sachs said on Tuesday gold could rise to record highs in a range from $1,150 to $1,200 an ounce, driven by falling real interest rates and renewed buying interest by central banks.
Technical analysts at Barclays Capital, who study past price movements to determine future direction, said both gold and dollar charts suggested more gains were on the cards for the precious metal. "Our sights are on $1,500 in 2010," they said.
Among other precious metals, spot silver was bid at $17.53 an ounce against $17.32, tracking gold higher, while platinum was at $1,364 an ounce against $1,349.50 and palladium was at $335 against $331.50.
ETF Securities said holdings of its London-based ETFS Physical Platinum exchange-traded commodity (PHPT.L) rose nearly 10,000 ounces or 2.6 percent on Tuesday.
(Additional reporting by Humeyra Pamuk)