Gold, Silver Prices Recover

Gold and Silver prices rebounded late Thursday after taking a hit due to selling pressure. Pressed for cash many investors find themselves selling their assets in order to have more cash holdings.

05/12/11 - 03:55 PM EDT
By Alix Steel

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Gold and silver prices managed to regain ground Thursday after tanking in the early hours of trading.

Gold for June delivery settled $5.40 higher at $1,506.80 at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. The gold price Wednesday has traded as high as $1,506.50 and as low as $1,477.60. The spot gold price was up $1.80, according to Kitco's gold index.

Silver prices for July deliver settled 71 cents lower at $33.79 an ounce. Reportedly, the Shanghai Gold Exchange raised its own margin requirements for silver, following the CME to make it more expensive to buy a silver contract to manage volatility.

Early morning physical buying and bargain-hunting in gold and silver was phased out as investors opted for cash, although both metals rallied from session lows. Reports of slowing global growth, as indicated by slowing manufacturing output in the U.K., slowing industrial production in the eurozone, and weaker industrial output in China, had investors more concerned about anemic growth than inflation.

The Federal Reserve will end its $600 bond buying program in June at a time when there is talk of Greece needing to restructure its debt and the International Monetary Fund is warning of contagion issues. China also raised the amount of money banks must keep in their coffers by 50 basis points in an attempt to take money out of the economy, which have many worried of high inflation and a growth slowdown that is too hard too fast.

Uncertainty and crisis can typically be good for gold and silver as they become a safer place to store cash, but many experts think that hedge funds and traders are finding it harder to borrow money to trade with which forces them to sell other assets to free up cash.

According to a quarterly Bloomberg Global Poll of 1,263 investors, analysts and traders, nearly 1 in 3 said they would hold more cash and 30% were planning to dump some of their commodity holdings.

James Moore, research analyst at FastMarkets, thinks that physical buying of gold and silver will provide some support for gold and silver but that more selling in the short term could ensue as speculative traders and investors curb their exposure, with "gold potentially testing back to last week's lows around $1,462 while silver could potentially extend back towards the $30-$32 an ounce." The 200-day moving average, an area where silver could find support, is $29.17.

A stronger U.S. dollar will also continue to put pressure on gold, as the dollar-backed commodities become more expensive to buy in other currencies. The U.S. dollar index was adding 0.07% to $75.63, and was staying strong as investor opted for that currency rather than the euro in light of Greece debt worries and restructuring fears.

Many traders had also been betting on the euro as the stronger currency and betting against the dollar as the Fed remained committed to low interest rates, but this trade is now being reversed.

Gold mining stocks were falling Thursday. Kinross Gold(KGC) was losing 0.8% to $14.43 while Randgold Resources(GOLD) was down 1.8% to $76.63. Other gold stocks, Agnico-Eagle(AEM) and Eldorado Gold(EGO) were both down 1.6%.

--Written by Alix Steel in New York.

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