July 10, 2012 / 4:26 AM / 7 years ago

PRECIOUS-Gold dips as gloomy growth outlook boosts dollar

* China June imports grow at half the expected pace
    * Spot gold may fall to $1,575.89/oz - technicals
    * Coming Up: Euro zone finance ministers meeting

 (Updates prices)
    By Rujun Shen
    SINGAPORE, July 10 (Reuters) - Gold prices edged down on
Tuesday, pressured by a higher dollar as investors nervous about
global economic growth piled into the greenback for safety.
    The dollar index hovered near a one-month high hit
earlier this week, while the euro edged lower towards a two-year
low against the greenback, after China released
weaker-than-expected imports data that suggested decreasing
domestic demand in the world's second-largest economy. 
    The lacklustre trade numbers came a day after data showed
inflation in China eased further in June, giving room to the
central bank to loosen its monetary policy to stimulate growth
without stoking upward price pressures.
    Spot gold dipped $1.50 to $1,585.15 an ounce by 0620
GMT. U.S. gold futures contract for August delivery edged
down 0.2 percent to $1,585.30.
    "The market is being a little pessimistic and cautious about
the global economy, and investors are choosing the dollar as the
top safety haven," said Li Ning, an analyst at Shanghai CIFCO
Futures. "The strength in the dollar is in turn putting pressure
on gold prices."
    The dollar and gold usually display an inverse correlation -
when one rises, the other falls. The correlation between the two
stood at -0.55 on Tuesday, the strongest inverse correlation
between in nearly two months. A reading of -1 shows a perfect
inverse correlation.
    Technical analysis suggested that spot gold could fall to
its Monday low below $1,576 an ounce during the day, said
Reuters market analyst Wang Tao. 
    The euro zone debt crisis will remain a hurdle to gold
prices as it weighs on the euro, Merrill Lynch analysts said in
a research note.
    Euro zone finance ministers agreed to grant Spain an extra
year until 2014 to reach its deficit reduction targets in
exchange for further budget savings and set the parameters of an
aid package for Madrid's ailing banks. 
    But they remained far from pinning down details of bank
rescues and emergency bond-buying that are of imminent concern
to markets. 
    The Merrill Lynch analysts, however, expect gold prices to
get a boost if the U.S. Federal Reserve loosens monetary policy
later in the year.
    "Loose monetary policies, with a scope for more aggressive
balance sheet use in the U.S. and Europe, will keep real rates
in most reserve currencies low (or negative) during 2012. We
continue to believe that this will allow investor demand to
remain strong and prices to reach our $2,000/oz target by the
end of the year."
    Speculators raised their net long bets in U.S. gold futures
and options to the highest level in two months in the week ended
July 3, data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission
    Precious metals prices 0620 GMT
  Metal             Last    Change  Pct chg  YTD pct chg    Volume
  Spot Gold        1585.15   -1.50   -0.09      1.37
  Spot Silver        27.27   -0.07   -0.26     -1.52
  Spot Platinum    1433.75   -5.13   -0.36      2.93
  Spot Palladium    578.53   -0.02   -0.00    -11.34
  COMEX GOLD AUG2  1585.30   -3.80   -0.24      1.18         8541
  COMEX SILVER SEP2  27.25   -0.19   -0.71     -2.38         3088
  Euro/Dollar       1.2292
  Dollar/Yen         79.49
  COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months  
 (Editing by Richard Pullin)
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