US budget uncertainty boosts gold price
Gold rose almost 1 per cent on Wednesday, boosted by some safe-haven buying caused by uncertainty over US budget talks.
The US Congress, struggling to avert a government shutdown next week, turned its attention to the other fiscal bullet coming at it: a federal debt default.
Republican leaders in the House of Representatives notified members that a vote on raising the debt limit could come as early as Friday. The uncertain outcome of the budget talks sent US Treasury bond prices higher while US equities fell.
Gold rose to a record US$1,920 an ounce in September 2011 partly on fears about the first US debt ceiling crisis, which confronted investors with the possibility that the world’s biggest economy would be unable to pay interest on its debt.
“We do not envisage the gold market to revisit the same euphoria seen during the debt ceiling crisis in mid-2011. Nonetheless, US debt ceiling concerns would still be viewed as positive for bullion,” said James Steel, chief precious metals analyst at HSBC.
Spot gold rose 0.8 per cent to US$1,332.60 per ounce at 4.03pm in New York.
The Comex gold contract for December delivery settled up US$19.90 at US$1,336.20 an ounce. Trading volume was about 10 per cent below the 30-day average, preliminary Reuters data showed.
The metal also received a boost from the International Monetary Fund, which reported that central banks continued to increase gold reserves in August, with Russia buying nearly 13 tonnes.
The price of bullion has fallen about 20 per cent this year, after 12 years of gains.
Meanwhile, the top US derivatives regulator, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, said on Wednesday it closed a five-year investigation into alleged manipulation of the silver market, saying 7,000 staff hours of investigation produced no evidence of wrongdoing.
Silver rose 0.4 per cent to US$21.76 an ounce.
In the physical market, consumers in top markets China and India appeared to stay on the sidelines with continued volatility in prices and expectations of further declines, dealers said.
China, the second-biggest gold consumer, is headed into a strong buying season, but market holidays next week for National Day have kept things quiet, traders said.
In India, a fresh bout of buying is expected after new rules on gold imports and exports are clarified, but buying is unlikely to return to the strong volumes of the first half of the year.
Among other precious metals, platinum rose 0.3 per cent to US$1,422.49 an ounce and palladium gained 0.4 per cent to US$720.22 an ounce.