GOLD PRICE NEWS – The gold price stabilized near $1,780 per ounce on Wednesday despite modest strength in the U.S. dollar and two better than expected U.S. economic reports. The price of gold held in a tight range between $1,777 and $1,783 this morning, while the U.S. Dollar Index inched up by 0.2% to 79.859 against a basket of currencies including the euro, pound, yen and several others.
Silver fared slightly better than the gold price, as it rose $0.12, or 0.3%, to $34.75 per ounce. Gold’s sister precious metal also remained in a narrow range this morning, between approximately $34.65 and $34.85 per ounce. Despite reaching multi-month highs this past Monday, the prices of gold and silver have been in consolidation mode for the past two weeks. This most recent period has coincided with the broader financial markets digesting the Federal Reserve’s decision to launch an open-ended third round of quantitative easing (QE3).
Gold stocks lagged the precious metals this morning, as the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX) slipped $0.28, or 0.5%, to $53.31 per share. Barrick Gold (ABX) and Goldcorp (GG) – the sector’s two largest components by market capitalization – fell by 0.2% to $41.54 and by 0.3% to $45.48 per share, respectively. Newmont Mining (NEM) – the largest U.S.-based gold producer and the only gold stock included in the S&P 500 Index – dropped 0.5% to $55.38 per share.
The gold price held firm on Wednesday in spite of two critical data points indicating that the U.S. economy is holding up better than most expect. The ADP Employment report for August showed job additions of 162,000, surpassing the 140,000 level economists were expecting. The ISM non-manufacturing composite – a key measure of service activity – came in at 55.1, above the 53.4 consensus estimate among economists.
Notwithstanding today’s encouraging economic data, the Federal Reserve and other central banks in the world’s most developed economies remain committed to providing monetary stimulus to combat the deflationary risks from the European sovereign debt crisis and a global recession. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke affirmed this stance in a speech this past Monday, stating that “We expect that a highly accommodative stance of monetary policy will remain appropriate for a considerable time after the economy strengthens.”
As for the gold price, Societe Generale commodity strategist Jeremy Friesen commented that “The real (economic) challenges will again drive the market.”
Friesen added that “We are going through a bit of a consolidation period until we see what happens. My suspicion is that we’ll get more monetary policy responses from other central banks as the Fed programme kicks off and the ECB programme starts, probably by the end of this month. That’s bullish for commodities like gold.”
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