Gold flat below $1,300, heading for weekly fall

London (Apr 19)  Gold was heading for a 1.8 percent weekly fall yeserday, dented by hopes that diplomatic efforts can calm violence in Ukraine and by strengthening US0 economic data.

Fears over slowing demand in top consumer China and sustained sales from gold-backed funds also contributed to its fall below $1,300 an ounce. 

In thin Easter holiday trade yesterday, spot gold was unchanged at $1,294.80 an ounce by 0920 GMT, while gold futures  for June delivery closed down 0.8 percent at $1,293.90 an ounce on Thursday. 

There will be no London gold fixing — the twice-daily price-setting benchmark — yesterday and Monday because the UK is on holiday. The US market will be closed yesterday. 

“The price of gold dropped this week ... as further evidence emerged of an improvement in the US economy,” Natixis analyst Bernard Dahdah said.

“As the US economy ‘normalises’, so debate at the Fed is clearly mounting over how and when to renormalise interest rates,” he added. “If further strengthening of US economic data were to raise expectations of a renormalisation of interest rates, gold prices would once more come under pressure.”

Earlier this week the Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen reiterated an accommodative monetary policy stance. Low interest rates, which cut the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion above other assets, have been an important factor driving gold higher.

LG Chem’s first quarter profit down 16 percent

Seoul: LG Chem, the world’s largest lithium-ion battery maker, said yesterday its first-quarter net income fell 16 percent from a year ago due to sluggish performance of its IT sector.

Net profit came to 286.01bn won ($275.7m) in the January-March period from 340.44bn won a year earlier, the company said in a regulatory filing, South Korean News Agency (Yonhap) reported.

Sales also fell 0.8 percent to 5.67 trillion won in the period, and operating profit dropped 11.4 percent to 362.09bn won.

The figures included earnings of LG Chem and its subsidiaries.

Sales at the company’s IT sector recorded 670.3 billion won. It posted an operating profit of 37 billion won in the first quarter, down from 97 billion won from a year ago.