Gold price near two-week low as Britain votes on EU membership

New York (Jun 23)  Gold fell to a two-week low on Thursday after the last sweep of opinion polls before Britain's referendum on EU membership began gave the campaign to stay in

the bloc a slight edge.

Britons were voting on Thursday in the referendum that has divided the nation. The polling will close at 2100 GMT, with results expected early on Friday.

    Spot gold was down 0.1 percent at $1,265.30 an ounce

by 1003 GMT, after hitting $1,260.36, its lowest since June 9.

    The metal, often perceived as a hedge against economic and

financial uncertainty, reached a near two-year high on June 16,

as wider markets reacted to mounting concerns over the prospect

of Britain pulling out of the EU and sought protection in 'safe'

assets. They also included German bunds, the Swiss franc and

Japan's yen, but the rally was short-lived.

    "The fear we had mid last week about Britain leaving the EU

appears to be waning and that's also why gold has retreated,"

Julius Baer analyst Carsten Menke said.

    "In case of a "Leave" win, any rise in gold would not be

long lasting because this would not result in a deep economic or

financial crisis," Menke said, adding that a "Remain" vote would

see prices fall towards the $1,200 mark.

    Polls by ComRes, conducted for the Daily Mail newspaper and

ITV television, and by YouGov for The Times newspaper in London,

showed a last-minute rise in support for Britain to remain in

the EU.

    In wider markets, sterling hit a 2016 high against the

dollar and world stocks climbed for a fifth day running.


    Investors piled on near-term bullish and bearish options

bets on Wednesday, racing to protect against price swings during

Britain's vote, data showed.

    "Once the effects of the referendum results pass, we would

expect that gold will eventually focus back on other price

drivers and fundamentals. There is a good argument that in the

near term gold may be overbought," HSBC said in a note.

    Holdings in the SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest

gold-backed exchange-traded fund, rose 0.39 percent to 915.90

tonnes on Wednesday, the highest since September 2013.

    Among other precious metals, silver rose 1 percent to

$17.39 and platinum was up 0.1 percent at $973.60.

Palladium fell 0.1 percent to $560.54 an ounce.

Source: Reuters