SPOT MARKET gold bullion prices traded around $1765 an ounce Tuesday morning in London, 1.8% off last Friday’s seven-month high.
“It looks to me like we’ve got a short period of consolidation,” says Standard Chartered analyst Daniel Smith.
“[We'll see] maybe a month of sideways trading possibly and then generally trending higher in the next six months to a year.”
Stock markets were also broadly flat as major government bond prices gained, while the Euro recovered early losses ahead of a meeting between the leaders of Germany and the European Central Bank.
Tuesday also brought fresh news of central bank gold buying, while SPDR Gold Shares (GLD), the world’s biggest gold ETF, saw its gold bullion holdings hit a new record Monday at 1326.8 tonnes.
Overall gold ETF holdings tracked by newswire Reuters also hit a new record at 2294.3 tonnes.
Silver bullion held by the world’s biggest silver ETF, iShares Silver Trust (SLV), rose to just under 10016 tonnes yesterday, their highest level since September 2011.
“We still prefer to be buying gold on dips and believe the break higher will eventually come,” says Walter de Wet, commodity strategist at Standard Bank.
“But the futures market needs to lose some speculative length and the physical market needs to adjust to a higher price-range first.”
The aggregate positioning of Comex gold futures and options traders rose to its highest reported level since February last week, according to weekly data published by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. October gold option contracts on the Comex expire later today.
On the supply side, London-listed pawnbroker Albermarle & Bond has announced a reduction in new store openings in the next financial year, citing a “sudden slowdown” in profit growth from buying and recycling scrap gold.
“We expect gold buying to continue to be a significant profit contributor…albeit at much reduced levels to that achieved at the peak,” chief executive Barry Stevenson said.
The firm plans to open five stores in the next financial year, compared to 25 opened in 2011-12.
Silver prices meantime climbed to $34.31 an ounce – 2.6% off last week’s high – while other industrial commodities also ticked higher.
“Silver is still within the recent range and we feel it is too early to call a reversal,” says the latest technical analysis from bullion bank Scotia Mocatta.
Over in Europe, German chancellor Angela Merkel and European Central Bank president Mario Draghi are due to meet today in Berlin, where they are expected to discuss the Eurozone crisis.
Spain’s deputy prime minister meantime has said she wants to see more details of the ECB’s unlimited sovereign bond buying program announced earlier this month.
“We need to know to what extent the ECB will intervene in the secondary market,” Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said Tuesday.
“To take decisions you need to have all the elements on the table.”
Spain sold €4 billion of 3-Month and 6-Month bills at auction this morning, with borrowing costs ticking higher from a month earlier.
Italy meantime sold €3.94 billion of 2-Year debt, compared with a maximum target of €4 billion.
Elsewhere in Europe, Switzerland’s central bank bought an estimated €80 billion of so-called core Eurozone sovereign debt in the first seven months of the year, according to a report published Tuesday ratings agency Standard & Poor’s.
“In our view, this has significantly contributed to the declining yields on bonds issued by the core sovereigns,” the report says.
Yields on 6-Month German Bubills have spent much of the year in negative territory, while 10-Year Bund yields have at times traded at less than 1.2%. By contrasts, Spain’s 10-Year government bond yields spiked above 7.7% in July.
Last year, the Swiss National Bank announced it was placing a floor under the Euro’s exchange rate with the Swiss Franc and would not allow it fall below SFr1.20. The SNB pledge “unlimited” currency purchases to support this peg.
The central banks of South Korea, Paraguay and Ukraine meantime all added to their gold reserves over the last two months, according to International Monetary Fund data published Tuesday.
Korea added nearly 16 tonnes of gold bullion in July, taking total reserves above 70 tonnes, while Paraguay’s holdings rose by 7.5 tonnes to 8.2 tonnes in the same month. Ukraine added just under 1.9 tonnes in August, taking official reserves to 34.8 tonnes.
Venezuela, which repatriated most of its gold last year, cut its holdings by 3.7 tonnes, taking the total to 362 tonnes.
Turkey’s central bank also reported a rise of 6.6 tonnes, although Turkey’s gold holdings include gold held with the central bank by commercial institutions as part of their reserve requirements.
China’s central bank injected a record 290 billion Yuan into financial markets Tuesday, ahead of a week-long public holiday next week.