NEW YORK/LONDON: Gold traded flat on Wednesday as the market paused after a two-day rally, but signs of rising inflation and a lack of clear solution to the euro zone debt crisis underpinned bullion.
The metal initially rose toward $1,800 an ounce after data showed US core producer prices rose at their fastest pace in six months in July. Profit-taking later weighed, as the market largely ignored news that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said he plans to nationalize the gold sector.
Analysts said that bullion is vulnerable for a sharp pullback as technical charts suggest that the metal is in overbought territory. Bullion gained as much as 4 percent in the past two sessions.
"The recent US PPI and price data elsewhere are clear indications that inflation is tracking higher, which certainly is another plus for the gold market," said Bill O'Neill, partner of commodity investment firm LOGIC Advisors.
Spot gold was flat at $1,786.24 ounce by 12:43 p.m. EDT (1643 GMT), about 2 percent off last week's record $1,813.
Silver was up 0.5 percent at $40.07 an ounce.
The US Labor Department said its seasonally adjusted index for prices paid at the farm and factory gate excluding food and energy, or core PPI, rose 0.4 percent -- the largest increase since January.
Market anxiety supported safe-haven bid a day after France and Germany's call for closer euro zone integration, which disappointed investors by declaring that any thoughts of common euro bond issuance would have to wait.
Also underpinning the market was news that independent investor Dennis Gartman had said in a note that he would seriously consider adding to his gold positions again Wednesday after he bought bullion on Tuesday.
Bullion prices remained flat after Venezuela's Chavez said he plans to nationalize the country's gold sector, including extraction and processing, and use the production to boost the country's international reserves.
Venezuela has some of Latin America's largest gold deposits in its south. According to official figures, formal mining in the country produces 4.3 tonnes a year.
Analysts, however, said that gold is long due for a pullback after prices surged around $300 in just the past 1.5 months.
The relative strength index shows that, technically, bullion is well into overbought territory, and the metal appears to be forming a climax top on weekly charts, suggested a correction is possible.
Copyright Reuters, 2011