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Gold near 3-week low on oil, Iran tensions may help
SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Gold fell further on Wednesday, hovering near its lowest level in three weeks after oil prices dropped, but tensions in the Middle East could spur
safe-haven buying at lower levels.
Platinum bounced from lows but fears of falling demand for autocatalysts from auto makers due to the slowing U.S. economy and a lack of buying interest from jewellery makers weighed on sentiment.
Gold dipped to $916.60/917.60 an ounce from $918.80/920.30 an ounce late in New York. It fell as low as $913.80 an ounce on Tuesday, its weakest since July 8, also
driven by rebounding stocks and a firmer U.S. dollar.
Dealers noted selling from Japanese investors but short-covering as well as light buying from jewellery makers in other parts of Asia helped cushion the fall, said dealers.
"Physical buying seems to have recovered a little bit. I think gold can get support around $900," said Dick Poon, manager of precious metals at Heraeus Ltd in Hong Kong.
He pegged resistance at $938 an ounce.
Gold has lost more than 11 percent in value since hitting a lifetime high of $1,030.80 in March.
"As long as the Iran issue is not settled, gold and oil prices will not decrease too much. For gold, $900 is the bottom price at this moment," said Yukuji Sonoda, analyst at Daiichi Commodities in Tokyo.
Iran's president urged developing nations on Tuesday to unite against what he said was bias by the U.N. Security Council, which the Islamic Republic accuses of siding with the
West in a nuclear row.
The United States and Israel have not ruled out military action if the Iran nuclear row cannot be resolved by diplomacy.
Oil steadied around $122 a barrel, having settled 2 percent lower, and was under pressure from an expected rise in fuel inventories amid eroding U.S. demand. Oil was well below a record of $147.27 hit on July 11.
Spot platinum rose to $1,740.00/1,760.50 an ounce from $1,735.50/1,755.50 late in New York -- far off a record high of $2,290 hit in March.
Despite lower prices, manufacturers in China and Japan were not too keen to buy because of high inventories blamed on unsold jewellery, said Sonoda of Daiichi Commodities.
"They are not in a position to buy. They also presume the price will decrease further," said Sonoda, who pegged support at $1,650 an ounce.
China's platinum imports dropped more than 4 percent to 15,871 kilograms in January to June 2008 compared with the same period last year, official customs figures show. China is the world's largest platinum jewellery consumer.
New York gold futures added $0.30 to $916.8 an ounce.
The most active Tokyo gold contract for June 2009 delivery on the Tokyo Commodity Exchange fell 30 yen per gram to 3,211 yen.
Spot palladium rose to $381.00/386.00 an ounce from $380.00/388.00 late in New York. Silver edged down to $17.29/17.35 an ounce from $17.32/17.38.
Precious metals prices at 0724 GMT
Metal Last Change Pct chg YTD pct chg
Spot Gold 916.55 -0.30 -0.03 10.07
Spot Silver 17.29 -0.02 -0.12 17.06
Spot Platinum 1744.00 2.00 +0.11 14.74
Spot Palladium 379.50 -2.50 -0.65 3.13
TOCOM Gold 3210.00 -31.00 -0.96 4.90 29237
TOCOM Platinum 6051.00 46.00 +0.77 13.34 20057
TOCOM Silver 606.40 -5.40 -0.88 12.09 1036
TOCOM Palladium 1357.00 -11.00 -0.80 0.44 1139
TOCOM prices in yen per gram, except TOCOM silver which is
priced in yen per 10 grams. Spot prices in $ per ounce.
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