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Silver Jumps 4.7% as Gold Unwinds New Year's Drop

Commodities / Gold and Silver 2011 Feb 21, 2011 - 06:33 AM GMT

By: Adrian_Ash

Commodities

THE PRICE OF GOLD broke above $1400 per ounce and the silver price jumped above $33.50 in London trade on Monday, extending last week's strong gains on what a growing number of market professionals call "safe haven buying" amid fresh turmoil in the Middle East.

"A particularly ominous sign for the Dollar is that there's been no safe-haven demand for the [US currency]," says Steven Barrow, chief forex strategist at Standard Bank in London.


Libya, which supplies 10% of Europe's oil, faces "civil war" according to dictator Colonel Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam, who vowed on state TV yesterday to "fight to the last bullet" after the regime lost control of eastern Libya cities Benghazi and al-Bayda.

Brent crude oil today rose above $105 per barrel, but broader commodity markets were unchanged as food and base metal prices fell.

The silver price added $1.49 per ounce from Friday's London Fix – a gain of 4.7% to new 31-year highs near $33.50.
 
"The [precious] metals didn't really see any large scale selling" on Friday despite reaching 7-week and 31-year highs respectively, notes Swiss refiner MKS's finance division in Geneva.

"Long-liquidation from Asian traders was [also] scant and easily absorbed by the market" on Monday, says a Hong Kong dealer.

Although today marks a holiday for US traders, "trading volumes were higher than average," he adds, which "surely bode well for gold and silver."

Today's higher trading volumes were in fact the first strong pick-up in Asian wholesale activity since the Chinese New Year, a London dealer says.

Gold prices rose 1% by lunchtime Monday, unwinding the last of 2011's near-7.5% drop for Dollar investors, hitting 6-week highs for Euro, Sterling, Yen, Aussie, Canadian and Swiss Franc buyers.

"Long-term gold trend-line support is seen at $1307," says the latest note from bullion bank Scotia Mocatta, pointing to the underlying move since Lehman Brothers collapsed in Sept. 2008.

"The market is starting to look towards the record high of $1430 against the backdrop of silver making fresh highs."

New data released after Friday's finish showed the "net long" position held by speculative traders in US Comex gold futures rising "for the second consecutive week on concerns on that the geopolitical situation in Egypt would have wider implications for the region as a whole," says the latest Precious Metals Weekly from London consultancy VM.

In silver investing, however, the "net long" position of bullish minus bearish bets held by speculative traders jumped by 9.5% in the week-ending last Tuesday, the VM Group reports – the largest 1-week rise in more than 5 months.

"The silver market is going crazy right now, a lot of people selling, a lot of big dealers buying it, melting it down," says Ray Smith, owner of RJ's Coin and Currency in Chittenango, central New York state, to local TV station WSYR.

"Some people have been basically what you call 'sitting' on the silver and they're seeing prices that they haven't seen in 30 years, so they feel it’s a good time to sell now."

The all-time silver price peaks above $50 per ounce in Jan. 1980 saw Christopher Weston, then chairman of London auctioneers Phillips, demand that "Silver melting should be halted...[because] many people were selling irreplaceable antique silver items...destroying the national heritage."

By Adrian Ash
BullionVault.com

Gold price chart, no delay   |   Buy gold online at live prices

Formerly City correspondent for The Daily Reckoning in London and a regular contributor to MoneyWeek magazine, Adrian Ash is the editor of Gold News and head of research at www.BullionVault.com , giving you direct access to investment gold, vaulted in Zurich , on $3 spreads and 0.8% dealing fees.

(c) BullionVault 2011

Please Note: This article is to inform your thinking, not lead it. Only you can decide the best place for your money, and any decision you make will put your money at risk. Information or data included here may have already been overtaken by events – and must be verified elsewhere – should you choose to act on it.


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