Gold prices close marginally higher on further hints of rate cut

Bullion metals ended mixed today, Thursday, 14 February, 2008. Gold prices closed marginally higher for the day as dollar dropped against its rivals. Dollar fell today after Federal Reserve Chairman's comments regarding the economy. Silver prices ended lower lower for the day.

Gold generally moves in the opposite direction of the U.S. currency. Gold, as a dollar-denominated commodity, suffers from dollar strength.

Comex Gold for April delivery rose $0.60 (0.06%) to close at $911.4 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On 30 January, 2008 prices had hit a high of $941 in the after hours trading. This year, prices have gained 9.5% till date. In January, prices gained 11%, the highest monthly gain since April 2006. Last week, gold prices closed higher by $8.8 (0.96%) against previous close of $913.5.

Comex Silver futures for March today fell by 9.8 cents (0.6%) to $17.255 an ounce. Silver has gained 14.3% in 2008. The metal had climbed 16% in FY 2007. The metal also has gained for seven straight years. In January this year itself, prices climbed 14%.

U.S. stocks fell today after Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke said that overall economic conditions will worsen further in the coming days but good days also are not very far away.

Gold had been dropping since past couple of days after the Group of Seven officials meeting in Tokyo over the last weekend said they supported the International Monetary Fund's effort sell its gold reserves in order to invest in higher-yielding assets. The IMF is the third largest holder of gold in reserves after the U.S. Federal Reserve and the German central bank.

In the currency markets today, the dollar extended losses against most major counterparts after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the central bank stands ready to cut interest rates further if fresh signs of a weaker-than-expected economy emerge. The dollar index, which tracks the performance of the dollar against a basket of other major currencies, dropped 0.4% to 76.135.

Gold has traditionally been used as a safe-haven asset against rising inflation. Investor sentiments are boosted by the fact that gold and silver are alternate sources of good investment in the face of declining dollar and rising energy prices. Rising crude increases inflationary pressures and vice versa. On the other hand strong dollar reduces the appeal of the metal as alternate source of investment.

Gold witnessed the greatest annual gain in twenty eight years by gaining $200/ounce (31%) in FY 2007. In 2006, silver had jumped 46% while gold gained 23%.

At the MCX, gold prices for April delivery closed higher by Rs 3 (0.02%) at Rs 11,588 per 10 grams. Prices rose to a high of Rs 11,657 per 10 grams and fell to a low of Rs 11,528 per 10 grams during the day's trading.

At the MCX, silver prices for March delivery closed Rs 64 (0.3%) lower at Rs 22,038/Kg. Prices opened at Rs 22,105/kg and fell to a low of Rs 21,918/Kg during the day's trading.