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 LONDON: Gold steadied on Tuesday after hitting record highs above $1,570 an ounce the previous day following the death of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, and silver recovered from its biggest one-day drop in 29 months.

Gold shrugged off the potentially negative impact of a slightly stronger dollar, which edged up 0.2 percent against a basket of major currencies.

But the longer-term prospect of an extended period of low US interest rates kept the dollar index around three-year lows and helped gold stabilise following Monday's 1.2 percent drop.

Spot gold was virtually flat at $1,543.89 an ounce by 0955 GMT, having hit a record $1,575.79 an ounce on Monday.

COMEX gold futures were down 0.8 percent at $1,544 an ounce.

"The US dollar is signficant in the price development of the precious metals," said Quantitative Commodity Research analyst Peter Fertig.

"With the divergence of monetary policy in the US and the euro zone in particular, I expect the dollar is going to weaken further in the medium term," he said.

Low US rates allow gold to compete more effectively against other asset classes, as it bears to yield of its own and draws strength from weakness in the US currency.

The death of al Qaeda's leader accelerated spot gold's drop to $1,540.39 from a record high of $1,575.79 on Monday, although Fertig said the impact of bin Laden's death would be limited.

"I don't expect this to be a lasting factor, terrorism remains a threat to Western society and for that reason, there is no convincing argument to abandon gold as a safe-haven if one has bought it as a safe-haven against terrorism," he said.


Gold might have lost some safe-haven appeal after bin Laden's death, but the bullish trend is intact as fundamentals of the market remain supportive, said traders and analysts.

"The underlying facts supporting gold are still intact, such as the ultra-loose monetary policy of the US Federal Reserve," said Ong Yi Ling, an analyst at Philip Futures.

Concern over rising global inflation and ongoing unrest in the Middle East and North Africa may also continue to attract investors to bullion.

Flows of metal into the world's major exchange-traded funds tracked by Reuters staged their second monthly increase in April, rising 2.35 million ounces, or 3.74 percent, bringing the net flow for 2011 into positive territory, up 77,932.5 ounces.

Last week also marked the eighth consecutive week of net inflows into the gold ETFs.

Market participants are waiting for the key US non-farm payrolls data due on Friday, which should offer evidence of the ability of the economy to generate jobs, something which the Federal Reserve has flagged as a key concern.

Silver rose by 1.9 percent to $44.71, after having staged its biggest one-day fall in almost 2-1/2 years on Monday to hit two-week lows.

The CME Group Inc raised margin requirements on COMEX silver for the third time since last Monday. It increased maintenance margins for speculators by 11.6 percent to $12,000 per contract from $10,750 effective Tuesday, May 3.

Silver is still one of the top-performing commodities of tye year, having risen by almost 45 percent so far in 2011.

But investors remained wary of a market in almost chronic surplus and a highly volatile price.

Some of this discontent has been reflected in the futures market, where COMEX speculators cut their long position by the biggest amount in two years last week., while ETF holdings of silver fell nearly 4 million ounces.

Platinum and palladium were both largely steady, with platinum down 0.2 percent at $1,851.24 an ounce, while palladium was up 0.2 percent at $770.72.

Copyright Reuters, 2011


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