31 December 2009

Gold Once More Above $1,100

The Wall Street Journal

LONDON--Spot gold climbed back above $1,100 a troy ounce on the last trading day of the year Thursday, getting help from a weaker dollar and rising crude oil prices.

Gold will finish the year on a steadier footing after its steep tumble earlier in December, having bounced 5% since bottoming at a seven-week low Dec. 22. Its recovery will bring gold to a gain of 26% for all of 2009.

Spot gold was trading at $1,103.95 an ounce, up 1% on the day. Gold's recent recovery since tumbling over 12% in the first weeks of December has been accompanied by a modest rebound in the euro against the dollar, and a steep rally in crude oil prices.

Its recovery will bring gold to a gain of 26% for all of 2009.

"I think the story of instability in the Middle East has pushed the price of oil higher, which translates to higher gold prices," said Afshin Nabavi, head of trading and physical sales at Swiss bullion trader MKS Finance.

While gold has regained a steadier footing, its direction at the start of 2010 will largely depend on whether or not the dollar will further strengthen.

But for the last trading day of the year, volumes will likely remain thin and volatility low.

"It's the last day of the year, I don't think a lot of people want to get fresh involvement," said Nabavi. At such a high price, now may actually be the time to trade gold for cash, rather than seeking gold as an investment.

In other precious metals, spot silver was 1.5% higher at $17.037 an ounce, spot platinum rose 0.6% to $1,460 an ounce and spot palladium was up 3% at $402 an ounce.

Palladium will end the year with the most upwards momentum. The metal has gained 15% since bottoming at a five-week low Dec. 22, the same day gold hit its bottom.