Gold Near Steady as Bulls Work to Stabilize Prices

New York (July 17)  Gold prices are near unchanged levels in early U.S. trading Thursday. The bulls are working to stabilize the market after gold hit a three-week low Tuesday. It could be that simmering geopolitical matters are keeping the sellers from getting too aggressive in the safe-haven gold market. August Comex gold was last up $1.50 at $1,301.30 an ounce. Spot gold was last quoted up $0.50 at $1,300.75. December Comex silver last traded up $0.023 at $20.855 an ounce.

In overnight news, the U.S. and European Union have slapped new and tough sanctions on Russia. Russia reacted with bellicose rhetoric that has ratcheted up tensions between it and the West, regarding Russia’s annexation of part of Ukraine a few months ago. Asian and European stock markets were pressured a bit on this news. However, the overall market place is presently not placing high priority on several geopolitical matters that have the potential to flare up quickly. Tensions are also still elevated on the Gaza Strip and in Iraq.

There was still more downbeat economic data released from the European Union Thursday. The bloc reported its construction spending fell 1.5% from April to May, but was up 3.5% from a year ago. The EU also reported its annual inflation rate remained at a very low 0.5% in June. The very low inflation and weak economic numbers in the EU have prompted the European Central Bank to inject monetary policy stimulus this summer, and more easing is likely on the way in the coming weeks.

In other news, reports say India gold imports rose by 65% in June, on an annual basis, despite no movement by the Indian government to relax gold import duties.

U.S. economic data due for release Thursday includes the weekly jobless claims report, new residential construction, and the Philadelphia Fed business survey.

Source:  KITCO