Gold prices climbed back above $1725 an ounce Wednesday morning in London, making up some ground lost the previous day, while stocks and the Euro recovered losses made in Asian trading immediately after the news that European policymakers had failed to reach a deal on Greece.
“Upside targets [for gold] are now found around the $1750 mark and then around the $1800 level where the gold price has stalled on three occasions in the past year,” says Axel Rudolph, senior technical analyst at Commerzbank.
Over in Asia, “physical [gold] demand is very, very bad,” according to one trader in Singapore quoted by newswire Reuters this morning. “If prices drop another $30 to $50 [an ounce], we will probably see investors and physical buyers return.”
Silver prices hovered just above $33 an ounce for most of this morning, while on the commodity futures markets oil ticked higher but copper fell.
In the Middle East efforts to broker a truce in Gaza were dealt a blow when a bomb was detonated on a bus in Tel Aviv.
Wednesday also brought news that the central banks of Brazil and Kazakhstan were among those who bought gold bullion last month, while Germany reduced its official holding.
Eurozone finance ministers ended their latest meeting in the early hours of Wednesday morning without an agreement to pay Greece the next tranche of bailout funding.
“We are close to an agreement but technical verifications have to be undertaken,” said Luxembourg prime minister Jean-Claude Juncker, who chairs the Eurogroup of single currency finance ministers. “There are no major disagreements…financial calculations have to be made and it’s really for technical reasons that at this hour of the day it was not possible to do it in a proper way.”
Juncker appeared to have a public disagreement over Greece with International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde last week, when the latter disagreed with the idea of extending by two years the deadline by which to reduce Greece’s debt-to-GDP ratio to 120%, from 2020 to 2022.
The IMF managing director has said she would prefer to see further write downs of Greece’s debt, a position opposed by Germany and several other Eurozone nations.
“We discussed the issue very intensively, but since the questions are so complicated we didn’t come to a final agreement,” added German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble after last night’s meeting ended. “We have a series of options on the table on how to close the financing gap.”
The Eurogroup is due to reconvene next Monday.
“No procrastination can be permitted,” Greek prime minister Antonis Samaras said this morning. “Greece did what it had to and what it had committed to…our partners now have a duty to meet the responsibilities they have assumed.”
Earlier this month the Greek government narrowly won a vote in parliament to implement a further €13.5 billion austerity package, which Samaras said will be “the final one”.
The Euro fell against the Dollar immediately following the end of the Eurogroup meeting, although it had recovered most of its losses by Wednesday lunchtime in London.
“European policy makers raised expectations that something would happen on Greece and then they didn’t deliver,” says Ned Rumpeltin, head of G10 currency strategy at Standard Chartered in London. “What we are seeing is European risk coming back on to the agenda. It does put downward pressure on the Euro.”
In the US meantime, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke said in a speech Tuesday that yields on corporate bonds and agency mortgage backed securities “have fallen significantly” since the Fed announced in September it will buy $40 billion of MBS a month until the labor market improves “substantially”.
Bernanke added however that the Fed “will want to be sure that the recovery is established before we begin to normalize policy”, reiterating that “a highly accommodative stance of monetary policy will remain appropriate for a considerable time after the economic recovery strengthens”.
At this month’s Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee meeting, eight of the nine members voted in favor of maintaining the size of the Bank’s quantitative easing program at £375 billion, the level of it reached last month, minutes from the meeting published Wednesday show.
The other MPC member, David Miles, voted in favor of extending QE by buying a further £25 billion of assets. The bulk of assets bought under the Bank’s QE programs have been UK government bonds.
Public sector net borrowing by the UK government was £8.6 billion last month, official figures published Wednesday show, a 46% rise compared to October 2011.
Brazil’s central bank increased its gold bullion reserve by 17.17 tonnes in October, taking the total to over 52.5 tonnes, data published by the IMF show.
Kazakhstan added 7.5 tonnes to its gold reserve, taking the total to 111.5 tonnes, while Germany sold 4.2 tonnes, taking its total to 3391.4 tonnes. Germany’s federal auditors last month asked the Bundesbank to regularly inspect Germany’s gold held outside the country.