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PRECIOUS-Gold gains as invesors grow bolder over Greece
June 29, 2011 / 10:17 AM / 6 years ago

PRECIOUS-Gold gains as invesors grow bolder over Greece

* Gold gains from investor risk appetite as euro rises

* Platinum, palladium firm on equity strength, S.Africa power concerns

* Coming up: Greece’s parliament votes on austerity package (Updates throughout with comment, details; refreshes prices; prvs SINGAPORE)

By Amanda Cooper

LONDON, June 29 (Reuters) - Gold rose for a second day on Wednesday as growing certainty that Greece will approve steep budget cuts boosted the euro and other risk-related assets such as commodities and higher-yielding currencies.

Gold often declines in periods of greater investor appetite, but any flickers of optimism over a solution to the Greek debt crisis have also resulted in a rise in the euro against the dollar, which has cushioned the bullion price.

Light physical buying in Asia also helped support prices, although the volume was seen as insufficient to send spot gold above its recent trading range, dealers said.

Spot gold was last up 0.5 percent at $1,5 08.11 an ounce by 0953 GMT, countering losses seen earlier in the week that took the price below $1,500, while COMEX gold GCcv1 rose 0. 6 percent to $1,509 .2 0.

“ If you take a look at gold over the last few days we were v ery surprised that the price couldn’t profit from the higher risk aversion among market participants and we would have expected the gold price go higher, instead of falling below $1,500,” said Commerzbank analyst Daniel Briesemann.

“By now we think (the Greek vote) should be priced and the gold price shouldn’t react to a l arge ext ent if the austerity package is really approved later in the day .”

Greece remains in focus, as its parliament is scheduled to vote on an austerity package demanded by international lenders as part of a massive bailout later on Wednesday.

MARKETS WARY OF GREECE

Market activity has been thin as a result of combination of sluggish seasonal demand and lack of market-moving factors on the macroeconomic picture.

“There are still reasons to buy gold, but just not any new reason for now,” said Yingxi Yu, an analyst at Barclays Capital.

“Market participants are generally positive on gold, but it is a question whether now is the right time to enter the market given the volatility in risky assets such as equities and oil in particular.”

The 19-commodity Reuters-Jefferies CRB index rose 1.7 percent on Tuesday, its biggest daily rise in nearly six weeks, as investors bet that Greece will approve the austerity plan and avoid defaulting its debt.

HSBC said in a note that the Greek debt crisis has prompted some flight-to-quality flows, but these have been directed more into other perceived safe-haven assets such as the Swiss franc and U.S. Treasuries , rather than gold.

“ The gold market may not have dropped enough to invite substantial emerging market and safe haven buying to emerge. Longer term, we remain bullish. The strength of the CHF shows there is still plenty of nervous safe haven buying that could easily shift into gold ,” said HSBC analyst James Steel.

Judging by the inflows into exchange-traded funds backed by ph ys ical metal, investors have been buying gold, pushing up global ETF holdings of bullion by nearly half a million ounces in the last two weeks, according to Reuters data.

So far this year, however, ETF holdings of gold are still down by about 0.2 percent or 185,000 ounces, in stark contrast to last year, when the burgeoning euro zone debt crisis fed strong demand for gold ETFs.

Analysts said that in spite of the current uncertainty, the longer-term outlook for gold prices remained positive, as low interest rates in the United States, uncertainties in euro zone’s fiscal situation, and high inflation in major emerging economies are likely to retain its appeal.

Platinum group metals rose for a second day, following strength in global equities, which were lifted by optimism over a positive outcome for the Greek austerity vote.

Concerns over power supply in South Africa, the world’s top producer of platinum , also helped support prices, which fell to three-month lows earlier in the week .

The National Union of Mineworkers in South Africa on Tuesday called its members for a strike at power firm Eskom, which supplies 95 percent of the country’s power.

Spot platinum was last up 1.1 percent at $1,707.49 an ounce, while palladium rose 0.6 percent to $740.47.

Platinum and palladium have wide industrial applications, and are key ingredients in autocatalysts. (Additional reporting by Rujun Shen in Singapore; Editing by Jason Neely)

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