* Stocks hurt by weak euro zone growth data
* World gold demand slides in Q3 - WGC
* South Africa mine strikes end, tensions remain
By David Brough
LONDON, Nov 15 Gold eased on Thursday as
evidence that Europe's debt crisis has hurt economic growth
knocked equities lower and the dollar firmed against a currency
basket, but worries about the approaching U.S. 'fiscal cliff'
Stock markets fell in Europe after a report showed economic
growth in Germany, Europe's largest economy, cooled to 0.2
percent in the third quarter, while data showed the wider euro
zone has slipped back into recession.
Losses in stocks helped push spot gold down 0.45
percent to $1,718.24 by 1250 GMT, while U.S. gold for December
was down $11.60 an ounce to $1,718.50.
"You get periods of high correlation between risky assets,
and this seems to be happening now," said Nic Brown, analyst
with Natixis, referring to easing gold and equity markets.
"There are times when gold is just another commodity."
Brown added however that concerns over the approaching U.S.
"fiscal cliff" - a combination of government spending cuts and
tax rises due in early 2013 - may lift gold's appeal as a safe
haven if negotiations over how to tackle it are protracted.
"If... agreement looks less likely, I see risks to the
upside in the gold price," he said.
President Obama said on Wednesday that Republicans would
have to agree to raise taxes on the wealthy as the first step in
a budget deal that would prevent a dysfunctional Washington from
pushing the economy into recession.
Among other commodities, oil prices rose as violence in the
Gaza Strip sparked worries about supply disruption. Hamas fired
dozens of rockets into southern Israel and Israel launched
numerous air strikes across the Gaza Strip as the military
showdown lurched closer to all-out war.
Geopolitical tensions traditionally also lift gold, though
their impact has been outweighed in recent years by
macro-economic concerns. If the situation deteriorates, it could
"An all-out war would trigger high oil prices leading to
higher inflation and subsequently a return to recession," which
would support gold, Saxo Bank vice president Ole Hansen said.
"In the short term, it could trigger a massive risk-off
which... would hurt gold as the dollar would rally."
GOLD DEMAND FELL IN Q3
A report from the World Gold Council showed on Thursday that
global gold demand dropped 11 percent in the three months to
September from record levels seen in the same period last year,
hurt by lower demand in China as its economy slowed, but with
stronger Indian buying stemming a larger fall.
Gold prices in India, historically the world's biggest buyer
of bullion, nudged down in line with spot prices on Thursday as
the rupee firmed against the dollar, but dealers expect local
prices to remain firm given the wedding season.
Global jewellery consumption dipped 2 percent to 448.8
tonnes, the WGC report showed, while coins and bar demand fell
30 percent. European investors, particularly in German-speaking
markets, accounted for half of the 128.1-tonne drop in bar and
The WGC's managing director for investment Marcus Grubb told
the Reuters Global Gold Forum that he expects full-year buying
to be lower than in 2011, though prices were seen holding firm.
"Last year demand was around 4,400 tonnes... but so far this
year we are lower, mainly because of the bad first half in
India," he said.
"We expect... we will see demand in tonnes down by 5-10
percent from 2011, but the price will stay at or above where we
are now with quantitative easing, (the) U.S. cliff and debt
ceiling, and the OMT (bond purchase plan) in euro zone, plus
strong seasonal demand in India and China."
Silver was down 0.43 percent at $32.51 an ounce.
Platinum eased 0.93 percent to $1,568.25, while sister
metal palladium was last at $628.2, down 0.82 percent.
The last of a wave of illegal strikes that have swept South
Africa's mining sector ended on Thursday after workers accepted
an offer from Anglo American Platinum Ltd AMSJ.J, the world's
top producer of the precious metal.