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Gold May Gain as Europe Debt Concern, Price Drop Spur Demand

January 18, 2011

Sungwoo Park

Jan. 18 (Bloomberg) — Gold may gain as concerns that the European sovereign-debt crisis may linger boost demand for precious metals as a protector of wealth, and as a price drop in the past two weeks spurs physical buying. Platinum gained.

Bullion for immediate delivery was little changed at $1,364.18 an ounce at 1:33 p.m. in Seoul. The metal, which rose to a record $1,341.25 in December, dropped 4 percent this month, heading for the first monthly decline since July. The February- delivery contract rose 0.2 percent to $1,363.50 an ounce in New York.

“Around this level, we still see quite good physical demand,” Bruce Ikemizu, head of commodity trading at Standard Bank Plc in Tokyo, said today by phone. “I’m rather pessimistic. The problems won’t be resolved overnight. This European financial problem will be a long-term bullish factor for gold and precious metals.”

The euro was little changed against the dollar after yesterday falling 0.7 percent amid concern that an agreement among European finance ministers will fail to contain the region’s debt crisis. Euro-area finance ministers indicated after a meeting yesterday they aren’t facing immediate pressure to tame the crisis, while pledging to strengthen the safety net for debt-strapped countries.

Morgan Stanley raised its gold forecast through 2015, the bank said in a report today. It expects gold to average $1,400 an ounce this year, 6 percent more than a previous forecast.

Assets in 10 gold exchange-traded products dropped 6.54 metric tons to about 2,078 tons as of Jan. 14, the lowest since Sept. 15, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Platinum for immediate delivery gained 0.5 percent to $1,813.70 an ounce. Spot palladium declined for a fourth day, dropping 0.4 percent to $791.50 an ounce, while silver was little changed at $28.2975 an ounce.

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