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Gold rises to 1-month high on weaker US dollar

22 Jul

Gold hit a high of USD 1,314.49 an ounce, its highest since June 20, and stood at USD 1,312.24 by 0024 GMT, up USD 16.50

mcx goldGold jumped more than 1 percent to its highest level in a month on Monday as the US dollar slipped against other currencies, with gains in Japanese bullion futures adding extra support.

Gold hit a high of USD 1,314.49 an ounce, its highest since June 20, and stood at USD 1,312.24 by 0024 GMT, up USD 16.50. Gold last week posted its second weekly gain after the Federal Reserve’s assurance the timing of any tapering in economic stimulus is not set in stone.

US gold rose 1.49 percent to USD 1,312.10 an ounce. The most active June 2014 gold contract on Tokyo Commodity Exchange rose as high as 4,243 yen a gramme, its highest since June 20, because of a weaker yen.

Hedge funds and money managers raised their bullish bets in gold and silver futures and options in the week to July 16, while they trimmed net shorts in copper, a report by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission showed on Friday.

China’s central bank removed controls on bank lending rates, effective Saturday, in a long-awaited move that signals the new leadership’s determination to carry out market-oriented reforms.

SPDR Gold Trust GLD, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings fell 0.29 percent to 932.46 tonnes on Friday from 935.17 tonnes on Thursday.

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Commodity hedge funds bear longest losing streak on record

19 Jul

Funds betting on commodity price moves have lost money every month since January, their joint longest losing streak on record, raising more doubts about their ability to make money at a time when the commodity “supercycle” may be over.

The average fund slid 3.58 percent in the first six months of the year, according to a widely watched Newedge commodity index. Funds have only suffered five consecutive losing months once before, in 2002-2003, the index shows.

Hedge funds market themselves as capable of making money in all markets, yet funds trading commodities as varied as gold, grains and gas, have failed to turn an annual profit in the last three years.

The weak performance will put more pressure on the industry to lower fees and introduce clawbacks, which enable investors to reclaim some performance perks paid to hedge fund managers in boom times if the returns they hope to achieve fail to continue.

Worries about cooling demand in key markets like China, and a huge shift in the supply-side from shortage to glut, has sent prices tumbling in recent years, and left many warning that the end of the commodity “supercycle” – the long period of rising commodity prices – is here.

“Historically most of these funds have been a levered beta play on the commodity cycle, or in some cases arbitrageurs of commodity spreads,” Michele Gesualdi, portfolio manager at hedge fund investor Kairos, said.

“The end of the supercycle has hurt the first area, while the volatility and discrepancies that have arisen in forward markets have made life difficult for the second.”

Adding to the sector’s woes, hedge funds which trade other asset classes such as equities have rebounded this year, including those that trade mining and energy shares.

The USD 1 billion fund of Clive Capital, a firm which trades oil and ran about USD 5 billion at its peak, is down 3.5 percent to June 28, performance data shows. Krom River’s Commodity Fund has lost 4.4 percent to end-June, while Brevan Howard’s Commodities Strategies Fund is off 2.5 percent to June 28.

Krom River’s chief executive Itay Simkin said that despite falling prices, commodities were still a very good investment due to production problems, urbanisation, decent economic growth rates and a lack of forward investment in mining.

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Other funds mentioned in this story either declined to comment or could not immediately be reached for comment.

Funds trading bullion are nursing some of the heaviest losses. Gold has tumbled this year on expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve will cut back on its money-printing programme, which had driven gold to record highs.

John Paulson, the billionaire U.S. investor, has seen his gold fund, his smallest with USD 300 million in assets, plunge 23 percent in June and is down 65 percent this year.

Despite the losses, most managers are not down as much as commodity prices this year – the 19-commodity Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index fell 5.7 percent through end-June.

Some have also shone. After losing 30 percent in 2011 and 7.6 percent and a big chunk of his assets in 2012, Mike Coleman’s Merchant Commodity Fund is up 24.2 percent this year.

But the bigger concern for commodity funds is proving they can consistently make money amid a sustained downward trend in prices.

The problem, investors and managers say, is that the long, gradual trend of rising prices has been replaced with shorter, more uncertain trends, in which prices can plunge suddenly, making it difficult to profit from their slide.

Commodity prices, down 22 percent from a 2011 peak, have entered bear market territory, while volatility – which some funds thrive on – has also fallen, challenging managers further.

Oil Down Slightly in Asia

18 Jul

Oil futures traded modestly lower in the early part of Thursday’s Asian session as traders in the region digested a swath of key central bank and data points out of the U.S. Wednesday.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light, sweet crude futures for September delivery fell 0.14% to USD106.21 per barrel in Asian trading Thursday.

Crude traded slightly higher Wednesday in the U.S. after the U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that U.S. crude oil inventories fell by 6.9 million barrels in the week ended July 12, blowing past expectations for a decline of 2 million barrels.

mcx crude oil

Total U.S. crude oil inventories stood at 367.0 million barrels as of last week. The report also showed that total motor gasoline inventories increased by 3.1 million barrels, confounding expectations for an decline of 0.5 million barrels.

Oil also got a small lift after the Fed’s Beige Book business survey, which encompasses the central bank’s 12 regional banks, showed manufacturing expanded in most regions since the last report. The report showed modest growth across 11 districts with Dallas showing strong growth.

In other economic news out Wednesday, the Commerce Department said U.S. housing starts fell 9.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 836,000 unit in June, the lowest reading since August 2012. Analysts expected starts to rise to 959,000 units. Bad weather was cited as one of the reasons for the slack reading.

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Meanwhile, Angola, a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, forecast its daily output for September will be 1.67 million barrels, well below the 2 million barrels per day target. The country expects to pump 1.7 million barrels a day next month. Angola is Africa’s second-largest oil producer behind fellow OPEC member Nigeria.

This year, Angola has averaged about 1.72 million barrels per day in production, below the daily average of 1.9 million barrels for Nigeria. Angola is banking on new offshore discoveries to boost output in the future.

Elsewhere, Brent futures for September delivery inched down 0.04% to USD108.63 per barrel on the ICE Futures Exchange.

Investors Flee Gold as Long Positions Hunker Their 2002 low

17 Jul

Although gold is perched near its highest levels in nearly three weeks, investors remain wary of buying it. BofA analysts note that market players have largely liquidated their bullish bets on gold: at USD 2.1 billion, bullion long positions are hunkered at their lowest levels since 2002, the bank said.

mcx gold tradingGold has fallen out of favor with large speculators, according to data from Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, with positioning sliding to its lowest spot in nearly a decade.

Although gold is perched near its highest levels in nearly three weeks, investors remain wary of buying it. BofA analysts note that market players have largely liquidated their bullish bets on gold: at USD 2.1 billion, bullion long positions are hunkered at their lowest levels since 2002, the bank said.

Meanwhile, “speculative shorts in gold are their largest ever,” BofA added.

Despite global central banks’ having no intention of removing their collective foot from the monetary throttle anytime soon, gold bulls have been chastened by a dizzying selloff that has shaved more than 25 percent from bullion’s value in 2013.

Hedge fund guru John Paulson’s flagship gold fund has plummeted by more than 65 percent this year, according to reports.

Over the last week, gold has staged a modest rebound. Still, it is far from the heady days of 2011, when the Federal Reserve’s loose monetary policy prompted gold bugs to bid bullion up to a record USD 1,900 an ounce.

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BofA called market signals on gold “extreme” and said that positioning “remains in the contrarian buy zone,” given that the metal has broken above a near-term resistance area at USD 1,270 an ounce. That creates a “near-term base and positioning-led squeeze higher,” the bank added.

—By CNBC’s Javier E. David

Hours before the Minutes, Gold flat

10 Jul

Perpetual gold bulls liken Ben Bernanke, the US Federal Reserve Chairman, to one who delivered the bull market in gold with one hand and grabbed it back with the other; 2011 had seen gold futures rallying all the way to $1900 levels on QE steroids only to dip below the $1200 levels very recently.

Gold updates

Past two days had seen a slight uptrend in gold, marked by buying at lower levels and some short covering. However, hours before US Federal Reserve is about to come out with the minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee meet, which held in June, the futures are trading flat.

FOMC meeting minutes are scheduled to be released by 11.30 PM IST. This would be followed by a speech of Ben Bernanke sometime around 1.40 AM IST, Thursday.

Gold on the Globex platform of Comex for delivery on August 13 was seen trading at $1,245.05/oz, a loss of $0.85 or 0.07% as of 11.04 AM IST. Gold on India’s MCX for delivery on August 05 was seen trading at Rs.26008, almost flat.

It looks to be a wait-and-watch mode as far as gold investors are concerned.

Perpetual gold bulls liken Ben Bernanke, the US Federal Reserve Chairman, to one who delivered the bull market in gold with one hand and grabbed it back with the other; 2011 had seen gold futures rallying all the way to $1900 levels on QE steroids only to dip below the $1200 levels very recently.

The QE measures or Quantitative Easing measures—bond buying by Federal Reserve—had made gold rally to insane levels, and when June 2013 saw Bernanke announcing tapering of the measures provided the job market recovers, sent gold to a nadir.

It is the FOMC that takes a collective decision on whether or not to continue with the QE measures. It is worthwhile to note that positive job data that came in recently has taken the glitters off the eyes of QE advocates.

“The U.S. dollar is still rallying and Treasury yields are still trying to find a top. It’s still a pretty negative environment for gold.” said Victor Thianpiriya, an analyst at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. in Singapore to Bloomberg News.

Besides, the rout in the currencies of emerging markets has added to Dollar strength.

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What will Greet Gold in H2, 2013: India Festival Demand or India Import Curbs?

8 Jul

While one cannot ascertain if gold imports by India would be met with added curbs, the Finance Ministry here is sure to lose sleep over the matter as festivities kick in and Rupee rout continues.

free gold trading tips

The second half of 2013 is marked by festivities in India and thereby enhanced gold demand. From Ramadan to Diwali to Dusserah to Dhanteras, Indians would go on a spiritual and materialistic binge bringing cheers to the markets and dating optimism.

But will that be the case this time around too as Current Account Deficit is still the Guerrilla in the room contributing substantially to Rupee weakness which has fallen to a record 60.22 against Dollar as of writing this. Will there be additional curbs on imports by India government?

A recent Reuters’ report quoting unidentified official suggests that this is unlikely as there are threats of enhanced smuggling activities in gold.

India recently hiked the import duty on gold to 8% and RBI too put in restrictions on import funding by banks.

These measures helped the gold imports by India to come down substantially as latest data say.

“Import of gold and silver is understood to have declined substantially to $2-2.5 billion in June, much below the $8.39 billion imported in May, and over $7 billion in April,” a senior government official said and was quoted by the Indian Express as saying.

June imports of Gold have dipped to a paltry 28 tons when compared to 162 tons in May. Data says that imports of gold to Gujarat, a major consuming centre, dipped to 3.73 tons in June against the 37.61 tons registered in May as per the air cargo complex data.

Trend seasonal

“The physical trend has always been very seasonal,” said Bernard Sin, the head of currency and metal trading at MKS (Switzerland) SA to Bloomberg on gold physical demand.

“Physical players are a different breed. They are always buying on the dip. Physical support will continue to be present and it will definitely trigger interest,” he added.

It has to be noted that while ETF demand has waned considerably, gold physical demand went up substantially in the past months.

While one cannot ascertain if gold imports by India would be met with added curbs, the Finance Ministry here is sure to lose sleep over the matter as festivities kick in and Rupee rout continues.

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Should you Bet on Crude, Zinc, Gold Now? Experts Guide

4 Jul

Commodity experts are upbeat on crude, zinc, gold and copper, they advise buying them.

Reena Rohit of Angel Broking advises buying MCX near month crude oil contract around Rs 6,070 per barrel with a stop loss at Rs 6,020 per bbl for target of Rs 6,150 per bbl.

Dharmesh Bhatia of Kotak Commodities recommends buying on dips MCX July zinc at Rs 111 per kilogram with stop loss at Rs 110 per kilogram for target of Rs 114 per kilogram.

N Prasad of Safetrade Advisors suggests buying MCX gold at Rs 26,300 per 10gm with a stop loss of Rs 26,150 per 10gm for target of Rs 26,600 per 10gm.

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Sugandha Sachdeva of Religare advocates buying copper at Rs 418 per kilogram with stop loss at Rs 414 per kilogram for initial target of Rs 428 per kilogram with higher targets around Rs 432 per kilogram in coming days.

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