March 27, 2012 / 3:16 AM / 7 years ago

PRECIOUS-Gold eases after rally; Bernanke boosts sentiment

* Gold ticks lower after rallying more than 1 pct
    * Coming Up: U.S. Consumer Confidence for March; 1400 GMT

 (Updates prices)	
    By Lewa Pardomuan	
    SINGAPORE, March 27 (Reuters) - Gold edged down on Tuesday
as it consolidated after its biggest daily gain since late
January in the previous session when the   U.S. Federal Reserve
signalled it would keep interest rates low - a move which
burnishes the metal's safe-haven appeal. 	
     A weaker U.S. dollar also supported gold after Federal
Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said ultra-loose monetary policy
was still needed to reduce unemployment even though the U.S.
economy has shown signs of improvement, raising hopes of another
round of quantitative easing. 	
    Gold fell $2.15 to $1,689.59 an ounce by 0555 GMT,
having risen to $1,693.39 on Monday, its strongest since March
13, on safe-haven buying driven by Bernanke's comments. Bullion
struck a record around $1,920 an ounce last September.	
    "For the next few days, we could see the market challenge
the upside, although I am not sure it will manage to
significantly break above $1,700. It may be capped at around the
$1,720 level," said Nick Trevethan, a senior commodity
strategist at ANZ in Singapore.  	
    "The weaker dollar is very supportive. Going forward, market
sentiment should be more friendly towards commodities right
after Bernanke's commentary."    	
    Monday's rally was the reverse of what gold experienced on
February 29, when the metal posted its biggest one-day drop in
more than three years after Bernanke stopped short of signaling
further bond buying. 	
    U.S. gold added $3.70 an ounce to $1,689.30.    	
    The U.S. dollar held near a near one-month low against a
basket of major currencies on Tuesday after the Fed signalled
supportive monetary policy would remain and kept alive hopes of
more stimulus for the U.S. economy. 	
    Bernanke's comments supported views that easy monetary
policy would remain in place for some time and fanned
expectations for more Fed asset purchases. Previous rounds of
quantitative easing have weakened the U.S. dollar and boosted
U.S. and global stocks. 	
    "Key to direction, however, will be Chinese PMI data
released Sunday, the March U.S. non-farm payrolls and, of
course, the Fed meeting, where some in the market at least are
expecting a hint about QE," said Trevethan at ANZ. 	
    Asian stocks rebounded on Tuesday after Wall Street stocks
jumped more than 1 percent on Monday. 
    Global equities have been rallying since late last year,
partly due to steadily improving U.S. economic data and massive
doses of liquidity from central banks, but hit a bump in
mid-March after China signaled its growth was moderating. 	
    The physical market saw selling from Thailand, but top
consumer India was on the sidelines because of a strike by
jewellers to protest against a government levy. 	
    "There's very light profit-taking from Thailand, while
Indonesia has been quiet since yesterday. There's nothing much
from India because their market is slowing down," said a
physical dealer in Singapore. 	
  Precious metals prices 0555 GMT
  Metal             Last    Change  Pct chg  YTD pct chg    Volume
  Spot Gold        1689.59   -2.15   -0.13      8.04
  Spot Silver        32.86    0.03   +0.09     18.67
  Spot Platinum    1649.75    7.07   +0.43     18.43
  Spot Palladium    662.38   -0.72   -0.11      1.51
  COMEX GOLD APR2  1689.30    3.70   +0.22      7.82         9670
  COMEX SILVER MAY2  32.88    0.13   +0.38     17.77         1320
  Euro/Dollar       1.3351
  Dollar/Yen         82.85
  COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months
 (Editing by Ed Davies)
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