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PRECIOUS-Gold slides below $1,500/oz as dollar strengthens
June 27, 2011 / 9:53 AM / 6 years ago

PRECIOUS-Gold slides below $1,500/oz as dollar strengthens

* Worries over euro zone debt weigh on euro

* German deputy finmin says euro risks losing credibility

* Asian physical buying picks up after price retreat

(Updates prices, adds comment)

By Jan Harvey

LONDON, June 27 (Reuters) - Gold prices eased on Monday, briefly touching near six-week lows in early trade, as the euro suffered from concerns over the outlook for euro zone debt, and amid broad-based selling of commodities.

Spot gold was bid at $1,495.06 an ounce at 1338 GMT, against $1,499.53 late in New York on Friday. U.S. gold futures for August delivery GCv1 fell $4.70 an ounce to $1,496.20.

Simmering worries over this week’s Greek parliamentary vote on austerity measures and its impact on a European Union bailout package are pressuring the euro lower versus the dollar. A stronger dollar tends to weigh on dollar-priced assets.

“Having discounted all the current market fundamentals, gold seems to be waiting for fresh market cues for the immediate move,” said Pradeep Unni, senior analyst at Richcomm Global Services.

“Technically charts are pointing at further weakness and this is reflected by the excessive strength portrayed by the U.S. dollar over the last couple of days,” he added. “Oil under $90 a barrel could further bearishness to the market.”

Gold fell as low as $1,490.90 an ounce in early trade as oil and industrial metals extended last week’s hefty drop. U.S. crude oil futures fell towards $90 a barrel after the International Energy Agency said it would release emergency reserves, and copper, lead and nickel prices also slipped.

Commodities have come under pressure from gains in the dollar and concerns that euro zone debt problems could cause further ructions in the currency markets.

The euro fell after Moody’s said Greek banks have lost about 8 percent of their private-sector customer deposits so far this year. The ratings agency warned that those institutions would face severe cash shortage if outflows mount to 35 percent of their deposits.

A Greek minister warned on Monday of “catastrophe” if parliament blocked a 28 billion-euro ($40 billion) package of tax increases and spending cuts in a parliamentary ballot expected on Wednesday.

Germany’s deputy finance minister said on Monday the euro is in danger of losing credibility.

COMMODITIES SOLD HEAVILY

Worries over sovereign risk contagion on the euro zone were a key factor pushing gold prices to record highs earlier this year, though they were not enough to prevent the precious metal being caught up in heavy selling of commodities last week.

“We do not expect the price to retreat much further,” Commerzbank said in a note. “This week sees the debate and vote on the austerity measures in Greece, with ratification a condition for additional financial support. It is still uncertain whether parliament will give its approval.”

Money managers raised bullish bets in COMEX gold futures and options to the highest level since the week of April 24 in the week ended June 21, as bullion climbed to within $20 of its record, data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission showed on Friday.

Speculators in silver futures and options also upped their net long positions, as safe-haven demand for precious metals grew in response to disappointing economic data from the United States and persistent concerns surrounding Europe’s debt crisis.

Physical gold demand, especially from Asian buyers, picked up as prices fell towards multi-month lows, but this is unlikely to put the brakes on gold’s correction for long, traders said.

“There has been good demand on the dips and I think that will continue, but that is not going to be enough ion its own right, if people are in liquidation mode, to reverse a downward trend,” said Simon Weeks, head of precious metals at the Bank of Nova Scotia.

Silver was bid at $33.63 an ounce against $34.26, reflecting losses in other industrial metals. Platinum was at $1,671.49 an ounce against $1,672.99, and palladium at $718.47 against $726.80.

(Reporting by Jan Harvey)

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