Increased central-bank buying lifts gold prices

Gold prices inched higher as data showed purchases by central banks in emerging economies jumped in October. Euro-zone concerns were back on investors' minds as the region's finance ministers failed to agree on conditions to unlock Greece's next aid disbursement.

By Sara Sjolin
November 21, 2012
Market Watch

LONDON (MarketWatch) — Gold futures inched higher in volatile Wednesday trading as data showed purchases by central banks in emerging economies jumped in October, while lingering concerns over Greece’s bailout program capped gains.

Gold for December delivery put on $1.90, or 0.1%, to $1,725.50 an ounce.

The contract settled $10.80 lower in New York on Tuesday, as euro-zone uncertainty contributed to a stronger dollar, making dollar-denominated commodities less attractive to holders of other currencies.

Euro-zone concerns were back on investors’ agenda as the region’s finance ministers failed to agree on conditions to unlock Greece’s next aid disbursement. They will meet next Monday to resume negotiations, Eurogroup chief Jean-Claude Juncker said.

The euro dropped after the announcement, although not enough to send the dollar higher. The ICE dollar index stood at 81.026, down from 81.889 late Tuesday in North American trading.

Gold purchases by central banks were also on investors’ minds, after the International Monetary Fund’s monthly statistics reportedly showed central banks in emerging countries increased their holdings in October. Brazil alone raised its gold stocks by 17.170 tons, according to Reuters.

“According to the IMF, the central banks of emerging economies bought more than 40 tons of gold on balance in October. In all probability, central bank buying in 2012 will exceed last year’s record of 457 tons,” analysts at Commerzbank said in a note.

Also Wednesday, silver for December delivery added 0.5% to $33.09 an ounce, while copper with delivery the same month dropped 0.3% to $3.51 a pound. January platinum fell 0.2% to $1,570.30 an ounce as the December contract for sister metal palladium gave up 0.4% to $635.85 an ounce.

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