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Gold, Silver Slump To Fresh Four-Year Lows

Gold, Silver Slump To Fresh Four-Year Lows

A strong dollar, on a seven-year high against the Japanese yen, kept investors away from safe-haven assets.

Gold slid for a fifth session in six on Wednesday, tumbling to a four-year low below $1,150 an ounce as a strong dollar kept investors away from the safe-haven asset and physical demand failed to provide underlying support.

Silver tracked gold lower, hitting its lowest since early 2010, while platinum and palladium also fell.

The dollar rose to a seven-year high against the Japanese yen after a victory by Republicans in the United States’ mid-term elections raised hopes for an end to political gridlock in Washington, boosting sentiment for riskier assets.

Underscoring the lack of interest in bullion, holdings in SPDR Gold Trust, the top gold-backed exchange traded fund, slumped to a fresh six-year low.

Physical buying of jewellery, coins and bars – which usually picks up at lower prices – has not emerged robustly enough to put a floor under prices.

“There is very little on the horizon that is bullish. Despite the trillions of dollars of stimulus over the past several years, most central bankers are worried about deflation, not inflation,” said INTL FCStone analyst Edward Meir.

“In addition, the roaring U.S. equity markets continue to siphon off assets away from alternative investments, including gold,” he said.

The yellow metal is often seen as a hedge against inflation and financial uncertainties.

Spot gold tumbled to $1,146.06 an ounce, its lowest since April 2010, before recovering modestly to trade down 1.6 per cent at $1,149.85 by 0738 GMT.

Silver fell more than three per cent to $15.44, its lowest since February 2010.

Selling intensified after gold broke through $1,161 – the previous four-year low hit on Friday, and then $1,155, said a Hong Kong-based precious metals trader.

The metals could see further downside, especially around the release of U.S. jobs report on Friday, the trader said. A strong report could boost economic optimism and the dollar.

The dollar has been an investor favourite recently, hitting a four-year high against a basket of major currencies earlier this week.

A stronger greenback makes gold more expensive for holders of other currencies, and dulls its appeal as a hedge.

The lack of investor appetite for gold was evident in outflows from the SPDR gold fund. Its holdings fell 0.32 per cent to 738.82 tonnes on Tuesday – its lowest since September 2008.

The fund tends to influence investor sentiment due to the size of its holdings.

PHYSICAL DEMAND

A sharp break in gold prices to their lowest levels in more than four years has prompted a pick-up in demand for coins in Europe and the United States.

But demand in top buyer China – seen as a key pillar of support for gold – has been disappointing. Strong Chinese buying is usually seen preventing more losses in gold.

Chinese consumers have not shown much enthusiasm for gold on expectation that it will fall further.

On Wednesday, local prices on the Shanghai Gold Exchange dipped to a discount of about 50 cents an ounce to the global benchmark, indicating weak buying interest.

Chinese prices had been at a discount on Monday but had gained to a small premium of up to $1 on Tuesday.

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