Wednesday, November 4, 2009 9:15 AM
Article Font Size
NEW YORK/LONDON -- Gold swept to a record high above $1,080 an ounce on Tuesday, defying dollar strength as the International Monetary Fund's 200 tonne sale of gold to India's central bank boosted sentiment toward the metal.
The purchase by the Reserve Bank of India underscored gold's increasing status as an official reserve. Gold's rally in the face of a stronger dollar also signaled the metal could rise further, dealers said.
Spot gold was at $1,087.25 per ounce at 2:20 p.m. EST, up 2.6 percent from $1,059.15 quoted late in New York on Monday. Earlier, gold hit an all-time high of $1,087.45.
U.S. December gold futures settled up $30.90, or 2.9 percent, at $1,084.90 an ounce on the COMEX division of NYMEX.
The IMF said on Monday it had sold 200 tonnes of gold to India for $6.7 billion. The sale lifted some uncertainty from the market by helping soak up potential supply.
"It all generates from the fact that the IMF sold 200 tonnes to the Reserve Bank of India. That is very bullish as it takes 200 tonnes away from the direct market," said Bill O'Neill, partner at New Jersey-based LOGIC Advisors.
"That shows that future IMF sale will be conducted in a similar manner," O'Neill said.
The IMF sale, part of an agreement to sell about an eighth of the Fund's stock, fueled speculation that other governments -- including Beijing -- may be ready to diversify their reserves even at near record prices.
Some traders noted that selling pressure was limited during Tuesday's sudden rally as major dealers were away from the trading desks attending the London Bullion Market Association's annual conference in Edinburgh.
NEXT STOP, $1,100?
The dollar hit a one-month high against a basket of currencies on Tuesday as investors retreated from risk assets, before paring those gains. The greenback later pared gains.
A strong dollar makes gold and other commodities priced in the U.S. unit less attractive for non-U.S. investors.
Gold's sharp rally in spite of a dollar rise showed that strong demand will continue support the metal.
"Gold is rallying regardless of currency actions," said Adam Klopfenstein, senior market strategist at futures broker Lind-Waldock.
Stephen Briggs, commodity strategist at RBS, said gold has clearly broken away from the relationship with the dollar.
"We wouldn't be surprised to see $1,100. It's gone up $25 in the space of half an hour, so how can one say?"
U.S. traders also said the gold market was finding support from potential for accelerated producer buybacks in as miners are keen to back gold they had previously sold forward.
Miners Anglogold Ashanti and Barrick gold both told Reuters on Monday that closure of their hedgebooks might happen ahead of schedule.
Looking ahead, the U.S. Federal Reserve begins a two-day policy-setting meeting later this session.
While the bank is expected to keep benchmark interest rates unchanged near zero, there is speculation it might alter its pledge to keep rates low for an "extended period."
Other precious metals rallied in gold's wake, with silver adding 5.2 percent to $17.28 an ounce, against $16.43 an ounce late on Monday.
Less-liquid silver tends to be more volatile and often outperforms gold in a metals rally.
Platinum rose to $1,356 an ounce compared with $1,334.00, while palladium was at $324.00 against its previous session late quote of $321.50.
Moneynews Currency Expert Sean Hyman will be joining Steve Forbes for the Emergency Dollar Summit on Nov. 5. This online presentation is free for anyone who would like to learn how to protect and grow their wealth. Learn more by clicking here.
© 2009 Reuters. All rights reserved.