Gold Rebounds After Historic Collapse

Markets Reuters

Gold rebounded more than 1.5 percent after falling to two-year lows and oil cut losses following another sell-off on Tuesday, although shares dropped for a third day as worries over the health of the global economy prevailed.

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The broad rout in commodities and stocks seen in recent sessions has been triggered by weak data from China and the United States that have sparked fresh concerns about the strength of the global economy's recovery.

A closely watched survey of German economic sentiment added to the worries after the euro zone's ongoing crisis and economic weakness were blamed for a larger-than-expected drop in confidence in Europe's biggest economy.

There was no sign of a complete collapse in sentiment that some economists had feared following the recent bungled bailout of Cyprus and the relief helped shares prune losses.

MSCI's global share index, which tracks around 9,000 stocks in 45 countries, was down 0.3 percent after the data, having been nearly 0.5 percent lower beforehand as European shares, on course for their third straight day of falls, clawed back some ground.

London's FTSE 100, Paris's CAC-40 and Frankfurt's DAX had been down 0.7, 0.8 and 0.7 percent respectively before the data but had whittled the losses back to between 0.3 and 0.4 percent by 1015 GMT.

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The euro also got boost as it climbed around 0.3 percent from $1.3036 to $1.3076.

"New uncertainty stemming from the euro crisis and doubts about the strength of Chinese economy seem to have dented analysts' optimism. However, it only looks like a correction at a level still consistent with modest growth," said ING economist Carsten Brzeski.

"The big confidence collapse some had expected after the Cypriot bailout has so far failed to appear."

GOLD STEADIES

Gold, which has dominated market attention in recent days, was hovering 1.5 percent higher at $1,386.15 an ounce with midday approaching as the near-vertical $230 drop in the past two sessions lured back buyers.

Other precious metals such as platinum and palladium also bounced back along with copper, while silver snapped a four-day losing streak.

Gold's recovery comes a day after it shed $125 an ounce, its biggest ever daily drop, and as the selling that began on Friday stalled after prices hit their cheapest since January 2011.

Analysts have cited various reasons for gold's slump, including funds switching out of bullion and that other central banks in Europe could use Cyprus's bailout plans sell excess gold reserves as a reason to sell some of their own holdings.

The already sharp correction has caused short-term investors to flee the asset. The SPDR Gold Trust hit its highest ever daily volume on Monday with 92.44 million shares traded. The ETF lost 8.8 percent.

Silver and palladium rose more than 3 percent, while platinum gained nearly 3 percent. Copper rose 1 percent to $7,267 a tonne, after hitting $7,085 on Monday, its cheapest since October 2011.

"Given the scale of the sell-off, I would say that the rebound is not that impressive," said Tim Riddell, head of ANZ Global Markets Research, Asia.

 

OIL AT $100

A bombing at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday has also added to volatility in financial markets.

Oil, another key commodity that has been caught up in the sell-off had stabilised at $99.81 after it fell below $100 a barrel for the first time in nine months earlier.

Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil producer has signalled $100 as the lower limit of its preferred range and Ian Taylor, head of the world's biggest oil trader Vitol, said on Tuesday that oil prices were unlikely to fall much further for a while.

"I think it has done what it is going to do for a while," the Vitol group president and chief executive told Reuters.

U.S. stock futures were up around 0.5 percent, pointing to a rebound on Wall Street after Monday's 2 percent drop which came after two bombs ripped through the crowd at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday killing at least three people and injuring more than 100..

In the foreign exchange market commodity-linked currencies were once again in focus following the recent sell-off, while the safe-haven rush into the yen after the bombings in Boston began to run out of steam.

The U.S. dollar rose 1 percent to 97.82 yen, though it was still down about 2 percent from a four-year high of 99.95 yen hit last week following the Bank of Japan's $1.4 trillion stimulus launch announced on April 4.

"We had a clear rout of positions in the past few days," said Paul Robson, senior currency strategist at RBS. "But any pullback in dollar/yen is temporary and we are fairly confident that dollar will rise against the yen in the medium term given capital outflows from domestic Japanese investors."