US MIDDAY: gold surges
Gold edged higher early on Wednesday, holding above $1,320 an ounce, as investors bought into bullion-backed funds anticipating a modest or downbeat assessment of the US economy in Federal Reserve's latest meeting minutes. Palladium rose to a 13-1/2 year high for a second day, and platinum rallied too. The two autocatalyst metals rose more than other precious metals, driven by a protracted South African mine strike, tensions in major producing nation Russia and surging car sales.
Copyright Reuters, 2014
The spot price of gold neared a one-week high as the world's largest gold exchange-traded fund, the New York-listed SPDR Gold Trust, reported a second straight session of inflows that took its holdings above 800 tonnes the first time since mid-April. Spot gold was up 0.3 percent at $1,322.50 an ounce by 12:30 pm EDT (1630 GMT). US gold futures' most-active contract, for delivery in August, were up $7.10 an ounce at $1,323.60. Spot silver was up 0.1 percent at $21 an ounce.
The platinum metals group (PGM), which primarily serves the auto market, rose more, with spot palladium up 0.4 percent at $870.55 an ounce. During the session it hit $873.80 an ounce, its highest since February 2001. Spot platinum was up 0.9 percent at $1,499620 an ounce. On Tuesday, holdings of palladium-backed ETFs hit a record 2.573 million ounces after a near 8,000-ounce inflow into the NewPalladium ETF operated in Johannesburg by Absa Capital.
Strong car sales in the United States and China have boosted demand from automakers for PGMs, used to purify emissions. Tensions between major producer Russia and the West over Ukraine have stoked fears that PGM supply from the Crimean may be constrained. A five-month miners' strike in South Africa prompted analysts to tighten forecasts for PGM supply.
The Federal Reserve's June meeting minutes, due at 1800 GMT, will be studied for clues on monetary policy. "I expect the Fed to stay a steady course with its stimulus rollback," said George Gero, vice-president at RBC Capital Markets, who did not expect any market-jolting announcements in the Fed minutes. In each of its three meetings this year, the Fed cut $10 billion from its stimulus, which now stands at $45 billion versus $85 billion a year ago.