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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Gold Slips in N.Y. as Investment Demand May Wilt; Silver Falls

By Halia Pavliva

May 11 (Bloomberg) -- Gold declined in New York on speculation that investment demand will drop as more signs emerge that the global recession may have touched bottom. Silver also slipped.

Policy makers see “encouraging” signs of a recovery, European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet said after a meeting of central bankers. U.S. consumer sentiment rose in April by the most in more than two years. German factory orders gained for the first time in seven months in March. The dollar climbed as much as 0.6 percent against the euro.

“Gold prices eased as risk appetite made a comeback and was seen as a hunger for stocks and certain currencies,” Jon Nadler, a senior analyst at Kitco Inc. in Montreal, said today in a report. Demand from exchange-traded funds “has gone into drought mode since reaching a record high last month.”

Gold futures for June delivery fell $1.40, or 0.2 percent, to $913.50 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange’s Comex division, after dropping as much as 0.7 percent earlier. The most-active contract rose 3 percent last week, and may resume climbing in the next few days, said MF Global’s Tom Pawlicki.

“This week’s trade in gold is expected to progress in a generally higher direction, with prices potentially reaching $935.80 an ounce,” Pawlicki, an analyst in Chicago, said today in a report. “Support will come from worries that inflationary pressures are growing, from increased tensions in northwestern Pakistan, and from Venezuela’s seizure of oil assets.”

Falling ETF Bullion

Holdings in the SPDR Gold Trust, the biggest exchange- traded fund backed by bullion, reached a record of almost 1,128 metric tons last month and has decreased 2.1 percent since then.

U.S. stocks retreated from a four-month high after the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index traded at the most expensive level in seven months. The S&P tumbled as much as 2.2 percent before paring losses. Some investors sell gold to raise cash when they expect higher returns in other markets, such as equities and currencies.

“The safe-haven play is becoming less relevant at the moment, largely because we are beginning to see more positive economic signals,” said David Wilson, an analyst at Societe Generale in London.

Crude-oil futures, which jumped 10 percent last week, slid as much as 3.2 percent in New York. Oil fell after asset seizures in Venezuela, the biggest supplier to the Americas.

Asset Seizures

On May 8, Venezuelan agencies completed a seizure of oil- services company assets as President Hugo Chavez said private companies were no longer needed in the country’s oilfields. “We’re going to bury capitalism in Venezuela,” he said.

In Pakistan, the government said the army killed about 700 insurgents in the past two weeks in the northwest region, where Taliban militants asserted control earlier this year. The government said 20 soldiers died in the fighting. The casualty figures couldn’t be independently verified.

Silver futures for July delivery fell 4.5 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $13.91 an ounce in New York. The most-active contract jumped 12 percent last week, the biggest weekly gain since Sept. 19. Gold still has advanced 3.3 percent this year, underperforming silver, which has gained 23 percent.

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