April 22, 2019 / 4:11 AM / a month ago

PRECIOUS-Gold rebounds from near 4-month low, oil rally lends support

* Speculators switch to net short in COMEX gold last week - CFTC

* SPDR gold holdings fall to lowest in over 6 months

* Brent prices jump 3 percent to highest since Nov (Updates prices, adds graphic)

By Arijit Bose

April 22 (Reuters) - Gold prices rebounded on Monday from a near four-month trough hit in the previous session as investors resumed trading after the Easter holiday, with the bullion gaining further traction on higher crude rates.

Spot gold was up 0.3 percent at $1,278.64 per ounce, as of 0843 GMT, having touched $1,270.63 in the previous session - its lowest since Dec. 27, 2018.

The metal dropped 1.2 percent in the previous week, marking a fourth consecutive weekly decline.

U.S. gold futures climbed 0.4 percent to $1,280.60 an ounce.

“Gold prices last week have suffered from a very sharp decline, for now what is happening is just technical buying, with some people coming and pushing prices up,” said Benjamin Lu, analyst, Phillip Futures.

Spot gold may bounce to $1,284 per ounce, having stabilized around a support at $1,274, Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao said.

Also adding to the metal’s gain was a rally in oil prices due to mounting tensions between the United States and Iran, with the former expected to announce a blanket ban of Iranian oil imports worldwide.

“Gold has climbed slightly ... benefiting from higher oil prices driven by geopolitical tensions. With regional equity markets possibly coming under pressure today as a result, gold could be a principal beneficiary in today’s session,” Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst with OANDA, said in a note.

Gold is positively correlated to oil as the metal is often seen as a hedge against oil-led inflation.

However, capping gains for the metal was an upbeat dollar, which gained against the British pound after data showed that United Sates’ economic growth might have picked up in the first quarter.

U.S. retail sales increased the most in 1-1/2 years in March, the latest indication that economic growth picked up in the first quarter after a false start, data showed on Thursday.

Meanwhile, investors continue to cut their exposure to gold. Speculators switched to a net short position in COMEX gold in the week to April 16, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) said on Friday.

This was the first time gold speculators have held a net short position since December.

Also, holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, dropped to 751.68 tonnes on Thursday, the lowest levels seen since Oct. 26.

Elsewhere, silver rose 0.7 percent to $15.03 per ounce.

Platinum gained 0.8 percent to $907.29. Earlier in the session, the metal hit $907.88, its highest in nearly two weeks.

Palladium was steady at $1,421.63, having earlier climbed to its highest in nearly three weeks at $1,424.51.

Reporting by Arijit Bose in Bengaluru; Editing by Joseph Radford and Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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