Thursday, March 8, 2012

Gold futures prices $1,700 march 8 2012

Gold futures prices $1,700 march 8 2012 ; Gold futures rose Thursday, wavering around $1,700 a troy ounce, as a brighter outlook on Greece's debt swap deal buoyed investor confidence.

The most actively traded contract, for April delivery, was recently up $10.70, or 0.6%, at $1,694.60 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract touched a high of $1,704.80 a troy ounce in early-morning electronic trade.

The Greek debt-swap deal, a key requirement of Greece's second bailout, again dominated trader attention. Gold trader confidence caught a boost after a number of large European financial institutions, including Portuguese and U.K. banks and Italian insurance companies, joined the list of investors pledging to participate in the swap.

"Expectations are that the takeup will be sufficient to allow the debt swap to proceed without any activation of the collective-action clauses," said Marc Ground, a metals analyst with Standard Bank.

The optimism surrounding the deal helped gold briefly peak above the psychologically important $1,700 mark for the first time since Tuesday. Greek government bondholders have until Thursday evening to accept the deal, without which Greece could face a disorderly default.

The European Central Bank kept interest rates unchanged but lowered its outlook on 2012 and 2013 euro area growth. Bank President Mario Draghi added that inflation rates will likely stay above 2% this year due to higher energy prices and indirect taxes.

"Fears of rising inflation and low rates of interest long-term should have a positive impact on the gold price," said Commerzbank.

Elsewhere, Barclays Capital said that despite recent supply disruptions in South African platinum production, the global market for the metal remains in surplus for now. However, stronger demand from industrial and automotive sectors could help tip the balance, the bank said.

"We would not rule out platinum flirting above gold in [the second quarter] but expect platinum to regain its premium on a more sustained basis as the market tightens" in the second half of the year, said Barclay's precious metals analyst Suki Cooper in a note.

Nymex platinum for April delivery was recently up $7.40, or 0.5%, at $1,634.70 a troy ounce.

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