* Gold to retrace to $1,485-technicals [ID:nL3E7GN040]
* Coming Up:EZ Markit Mfg flash PMI May 2011;0758 GMT
(Adds quotes, activity in physical market)
By Lewa Pardomuan
SINGAPORE, May 23 Investors ditched the euro and
turned to gold after Fitch cut Greece's debt ratings by three
notches, pushing the country deeper into junk, while silver
struggled to catch up with gains in bullion.
In another sign that the continent's debt problems are
escalating, Standard & Poor's cut its outlook for Italy to
"negative" from "stable", helping bullion hit its highest in
nearly two weeks. [ID:nLDE74J1K7]
Spot gold added $1.50 an ounce to $1,508.89 by 0606
GMT, having hit an intraday high around $1,518 an ounce. This
was its strongest since May 11, but still well below a lifetime
high around $1,575 struck in early May.
"I would expect gold to be supported above the $1,500 level.
If the crisis starts to involve other nations beyond Greece,
then we could see gold heading to a new record high," said Ong
Yi Ling, investment analyst at Phillip Futures in Singapore.
"Silver is still trying to gain ground after the huge fall
earlier. If we do see a new record for gold, then I think silver
will move higher."
Silver was hardly changed at $34.76 an ounce, having
hit an intraday high above $35 in volatile trade.
Silver hit a record at $49.51 in late April before falling
sharply on a broad sell-off in commodities and after exchange
operators in Shanghai and New York raised the amount of money
required to trade silver futures.
Renewed worries in the euro-zone over the weekend pulled the
euro down to a record low against the Swiss franc, weakened
risky assets such as Asian stocks and boosted safe haven
The physical sector saw bargain hunting from jewellers, but
the overall market was subdued following a rise in bullion
prices. Premiums for gold bars were steady at 80 cents to $1 to
spot London prices in Singapore.
"There's not much interest after the price has gone up. It's
a lot quieter and I wish I could still sell gold bars at high
premiums," said a dealer in Singapore, adding that main consumer
India was on the sidelines.
India is the midst of the wedding season, when parents give
gold jewellery to their daughters as part of their dowry.
Gold jewellery demand in India will likely remain strong in
2011 despite surging prices, the head of Gitanjali Gems
, the country's biggest jewellery retailer, said.
Precious metals prices 0606 GMT
Metal Last Change Pct chg YTD pct chg Turnover
Spot Gold 1508.89 1.50 +0.10 6.30
Spot Silver 34.76 -0.25 -0.71 12.64
Spot Platinum 1755.99 -12.51 -0.71 -0.65
Spot Palladium 727.22 -6.78 -0.92 -9.04
TOCOM Gold 3984.00 38.00 +0.96 6.84 78890
TOCOM Platinum 4683.00 -17.00 -0.36 -0.28 10072
TOCOM Silver 91.50 -1.00 -1.08 12.96 1936
TOCOM Palladium 1925.00 2.00 +0.10 -8.20 129
TOCOM prices in yen per gram. Spot prices in $ per ounce.
(Editing by Michael Urquhart)