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10 Sep 2012

Gold falls despite Fed stimulus speculation

Gold futures traded down during U.S. afternoon hours Monday, as Friday’s weaker-than-expected U.S. jobs report bolstered hopes that the Federal Reserve would soon spark buying with a third round of stimulus. On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for October delivery traded at USD1,729.05 a troy ounce during U.S. morning trade, falling 0.52%. Earlier in the day, prices fell by as much as 0.60% to trade at a session low of USD1,728.45 a troy ounce. Gold futures rallied to USD1,741.95 a troy ounce on Friday, the highest since February 29. Gold futures were likely to find support at USD1,685.35 a troy ounce, the low from September 3 and at USD1,761.85, the high from February 20. Gold prices rallied to a six-and-a-half-month high on Friday after the Department of Labor said the U.S. economy added 96,000 jobs in August, well below expectations for 125,000, following a downwardly revised 141,000 in July. The unemployment rate ticked down to 8.1% from 8.3%, as more jobless workers exited the labor force. Gold traders are now looking ahead to the Fed’s next policy meeting, which will take place on September 12 and 13, for more clarity on the central bank’s monetary policy. Last week in a speech delivered in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Fed chief Ben Bernanke said the persistently high rate of unemployment was a “grave concern” and reiterated that the central bank was ready to provide additional policy accommodation as needed to shore up growth. Moves in the gold price this year have largely tracked shifting expectations as to whether the U.S. central bank would pump more money into the financial system. Market players were also eyeing Wednesday’s German court ruling on the constitutionality of the European Stability Mechanism, as Germany’s approval will be necessary in order to implement the new bond-buying plan announced by the European Central Bank last week. Under the terms of the plan, the ECB would buy unlimited amounts of government bonds of up to three years in maturity, as long as the country in question agrees to economic reforms in return for assistance. Gold prices have rallied on past monetary stimulus measures. Investors tend to flock to gold on fears that excess liquidity would erode the value of fiat currencies and spark inflation. The precious metal is widely considered a hedge against rising consumer prices and a store of value. Elsewhere on the Comex, silver for December delivery shed 0.40% to trade at USD33.55 a troy ounce, while copper for December delivery rallied 0.91% to trade at a four-month high of USD3.679 a pound.

Courtesy: ForexPros

Natural gas futures bounce off 2-week low in early trade


Natural gas futures were higher during U.S. morning trade on Monday, bouncing off a two-week low as market participants continued to monitor weather forecasts to gauge the strength of early-Autumn cooling demand. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas futures for delivery in October traded at USD2.720 per million British thermal units during U.S. morning trade, jumping 1.4%. It earlier fell by as much as 1% to trade at a session low of USD2.655 per million British thermal units, the weakest level since August 29. Updated weather forecasts Sunday predicted below-normal temperatures in parts of the Midwest in the coming week and above-normal readings along both coasts. Natural gas demand typically rises in the summer as air-conditioning use boosts utility demand, then sinks in the fall as demand weakens ahead of the peak winter heating season. Also supportive was the aftermath of Hurricane Isaac, which shut much of the natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico. Nearly 10% of gas production remained shut on Sunday, U.S. regulators said. Natural gas futures also drew support from weekly production data from industry research group Baker Hughes, which showed the number of active rigs drilling for natural gas in the U.S. fell by 21 last week to a fresh 13-year low of 452. However, any significant gains were likely to be capped amid ongoing concerns over bloated U.S. inventory levels. Total U.S. gas supplies stood at 3.402 trillion cubic feet, 13.1% above last year’s level and 10.7% above the five-year average level for the week. Inventory did not top the 3.4-trillion cubic feet level in 2011 until October 5, with stocks peaking at a record 3.852 trillion cubic feet in November of last year. Market analysts have warned that without strong demand through the rest of the summer cooling season, gas inventories will reach the limits of available capacity later this year. The storage surplus to last year will have to be cut by at least another 150 billion cubic feet in the 12 weeks left before winter withdrawals begin to avoid breaching the government's 4.1 trillion cubic feet estimate of total capacity. Early injection estimates for this week’s storage data range from 22 billion cubic feet to 66 billion cubic feet, compared to last year's build of 80 billion cubic feet. The five-year average change for the week is an increase of 72 billion cubic feet. A bout of extreme heat across much of the U.S. over the past two months helped boost natural gas prices above the key USD3.00-level in late-July. Prices rallied to a 2012 high of USD3.275 per million British thermal units on July 31. But futures have come under heavy selling pressure since the start of August, losing almost 17% after extended weather forecasts pointed to milder weather across most parts of the U.S. Elsewhere on the NYMEX, light sweet crude oil futures for delivery in October shed 0.35% to trade at USD96.07 a barrel, while heating oil for October delivery added 0.25% to trade at USD3.156 per gallon.

Courtesy: ForexPros

Gold, Silver slip but set to benefit if Fed begins QE3 this week


London Gold market report:
The wholesale gold price drifted lower to $1730 per ounce Monday morning in London, some ten Dollars below Friday's six-month high. Stock markets were broadly flat and US Treasuries fell, meantime. The silver price dipped below $33.50 per ounce - around 20 cents below last week's close - while other commodities were broadly flat, with the exception of copper, which posted gains. "Our economists now expect the Fed to ease further at this week's FOMC meeting, providing gold the catalyst it requires to test fresh highs for this year over the coming weeks," says a note from Barclays Capital. "The latest price rally has been driven mainly by hopes that central banks will implement monetary easing measures," agree analysts at Commerzbank, citing last week's European Central Bank announcement of unlimited government bond buying as well as the prospect of QE3. Friday's trading saw the wholesale-market gold price in Dollars hit its highest level since February, after a disappointing US nonfarm payrolls report led to renewed speculation the Federal Reserve could announce a third round of quantitative easing (QE3) when it makes its latest policy decision this Wednesday. "QE3 is likely to spark higher inflation in the medium to long term and lead to fears of depreciation of key trading currencies," says Commerzbank. "This should benefit gold as a store of value and as an alternative currency." Germany's Constitutional Court is also due to rule this Wednesday on whether or not the Eurozone's permanenet bailout fund the European Stability Mechanism is compatible with German law. Germany must "lead or leave" the Eurozone of single currency members, billionaire investor George Soros has told the Financial Times. "Either throw in your fate with the rest of Europe, take the risk of sinking or swimming together, or leave the Euro," says Soros. "Because if you have left, the problems of the Eurozone would get better." Berlin has repeatedly insisted that Eurozone governments must adhere to austerity measures in return for financial aid, a policy which Soros describes as "reinforcing the current deflationary stance". Over in China - the world's second-largest gold buying nation last year - imports of gold from Hong Kong rose 12% month-on-month in July to nearly 76 tonnes, the second highest level this year and almost double the figure for July 2011, Hong Kong customs data show. Hong Kong is a major conduit for Chinese gold bullion imports. In the same month, China's domestic gold mining production rose to 31.3 tonnes, according to Ministry of Industry and Information Technology figures published Monday. Chinese gold output for the first seven months of 2012 was 208 tonnes - a gain of just over 7% on the same period last year. "Slowing real domestic demand in China was the key factor, consistent with the soft activity data in the past few weeks," says Societe Generale economist Wei Yao. In New York, the so-called speculative net long position of Comex gold futures and options traders - measured as the difference between the number of open bullish and bearish contracts - rose for the third week running to hit its highest level since February last Tuesday, according to weekly data published by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. "The change in the net position was once again driven by moves of a bullish nature," says Standard Bank commodities strategist Marc Ground, meaning the addition of bullish 'long' positions was a bigger factor than the reduction of bearish 'shorts'. "The unwinding of short positions was similar to the previous week...a strong addition to longs was also evident, although it was noticeably lower than in the previous week." Investment bank UBS today raised its one-month gold price forecast from $1700 per ounce to $1850 per ounce, and its silver price forecast to $37 per ounce, up from $32 per ounce. One Citi analyst meantime says gold could rise to $2500 per ounce in the first quarter of next year, the New York Post reports. In South Africa meantime, some 15,000 gold mining workers - a third of the workforce - are on strike at the KDC West mine, operated by the world's fourth-biggest gold producer Gold Fields. The strike comes less than a week after Gold Fields resolved a dispute at its KDC East mine, which involved 12,000 workers.

Courtesy: Bullionstreet

Crude oil hits session low after Saudi Arabia comments


Crude oil futures remained under pressure during U.S. morning hours on Monday, falling to the lowest levels of the session after Saudi Arabia’s oil minister said he was concerned about rising oil prices. Fears over a deeper-than-expected slowdown in China’s economy also weighed, as investors looked forward to the conclusion of the Federal Reserve’s closely-watched policy-setting meeting later in the week. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light sweet crude futures for delivery in October traded at USD95.86 a barrel during U.S. morning trade, slumping 0.6%. Earlier in the day, prices fell by as much 1% to hit a session low of USD95.41 a barrel. Saudi Arabia’s Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said earlier that global supply, demand and inventories of crude do not justify the current increase in oil prices. “The price of oil is simply not supported by market fundamentals. The market is well balanced, forward cover remains within an acceptable range and inventories are more than adequate,” al-Naimi said. Despite the gloomy global economic outlook, oil markets have been bullish lately, with New York-traded crude prices up approximately 20% since touching a low of USD77.27 a barrel on June 28, while London-traded Brent prices have rallied nearly 22% from the lows touched in June. Prices have been well-supported amid growing expectations that central banks around the world will soon announce fresh stimulus measures to help spur weak global growth. Renewed fears over escalating violence in Syria and lingering tensions between Iran and the West have also been supporting prices in recent weeks. Oil futures were lower during the Asian trading session after official trade data showed that Chinese imports fell 2.6% from a year earlier, confounding expectations for a 3.5% increase, while exports grew just 2.7% on the year in August, below expectations for a 2.9% gain. The report also showed the nation’s crude oil imports in August fell 12.5% from a year earlier to the lowest daily rate since October 2010, underscoring fears over a slowdown in domestic oil demand. The weak trade data came after reports over the weekend showed that consumer prices rose 2% from the year-ago period, in line with expectations and up from 1.8% in July, while monthly industrial output rose 8.9%, the slowest pace of increase in 39 months. A deeper slowdown in China, the world’s second-biggest economy, would impair a global expansion that is already faltering because of the euro zone’s ongoing debt crisis. China is the world's second largest oil consumer after the U.S. and has been the engine of strengthening demand. However, sentiment remained supported after Friday’s disappointing U.S. employment data sparked fresh expectations for another round of quantitative easing by the Federal Reserve. The Department of Labor said the U.S. economy added 96,000 jobs in August, well below expectations for 125,000, following a downwardly revised 141,000 in July. The unemployment rate ticked down to 8.1% from 8.3%, as more jobless workers exited the labor force. Oil traders are now looking ahead to the Fed’s next policy meeting, which will take place on September 12 and 13, for more clarity on the central bank’s monetary policy. Market players were also eyeing Wednesday’s German court ruling on the constitutionality of the European Stability Mechanism, as Germany’s approval will be necessary in order to implement the new bond-buying plan announced by the European Central Bank last week. Under the terms of the plan, the ECB would buy unlimited amounts of government bonds of up to three years in maturity, as long as the country in question agrees to economic reforms in return for assistance. Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange, Brent oil futures for November delivery fell 0.1% to trade at USD113.70 a barrel, with the spread between the Brent and crude contracts standing at USD17.84 a barrel.

Courtesy: ForexPros