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**** GOLD **** NEWS **** GOLD **** NEWS **** GOLD **** NEWS

18.02.00 09:06
Gold falls on technical pull back
                Ashanti to move ahead with mine financing deal

                 By Myra P. Saefong, CBS MarketWatch
                 Last Update: 5:35 PM ET Feb 17, 2000
                                                             Futures Movers
                                                          Agriculture Outlook

                NEW YORK (CBS.MW) -- Gold futures fell by late Thursday in a
                technical pullback from a four-day high, pressured by Ashanti's
                confirmation of an agreement that will likely lead to additional production.

                April gold closed down $1.20 to $303.80 on the
                Commodities Exchange division of the New York
                Mercantile Exchange, after hitting an intraday high
                of $312.50, while March silver fell 4 cents to
                $5.265 an ounce.

                "I view it as more of a technical move," Dave
                Meger, senior metals analyst at Alaron.com said.
                "The floor did not make any significant comment on
                any big noted sellers and that was really pressing
                the market lower today."

                The only fundamental factor in view was
                Wednesday's news on Ashanti Goldfields (ASL:
                news, msgs). "It looks like the Ashanti deal went
                through," he said. Ashanti shareholders agreed to
                withdraw legal action that had been preventing the
                gold producer from entering into financing
                agreements, according to Meger. This allows
                Ashanti to make a deal with financiers on a $100
                million loan and proceed with the completion of the Geita mine in

                If that deal had fallen apart, that could've been favorable to the market,
                but now that Ashanti is much closer to those financing arrangements and
                much closer to the idea that they won't have to be buying back hedges --
                "it's negative because they aren't going to have to buy in the marketplace,"
                Meger commented.

                Meanwhile, reduced gold-producer hedging and the recent strength in the
                platinum group boosted gold to a four-day high early Thursday.

                Last week, Placer Dome (PDG: news, msgs) said it had completely
                suspended its hedging program, implying confidence in gold's present
                value, while Barrick Gold (ABX: news, msgs) announced a reduction to
                the total amount of ounces committed to its gold sales program.

                In other metals highlights, palladium pulled back from a near two-week
                rally on tight supplies that has brought prices to an all-time high on the
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Re: **** GOLD **** NEWS **** GOLD **** NEWS **** GOLD **** NEWS

Demand for gold 'hits record'

By Paul Solman - 18 Feb 2000 04:37GMT, Financial Times

Global demand for gold climbed to a record last year in spite of disruption caused by volatile prices in the fourth quarter, according to the World Gold Council. Overall demand was up 21 per cent to almost 3,300 tonnes
compared with the previous year, while jewellery demand rose 23 per cent to 2,799 tonnes, the WGC said in its latest quarterly Gold Demand Trends report, released yesterday. The council is funded by gold mining groups
and encourages demand for gold.

Investment demand also strengthened for 1999 as a whole, though it fell 24 per cent in the fourth quarter as consumers in many parts of the world held back from buying because of sharp movements in prices, caused by the international central bank agreement restricting bullion sales.

India, the world's largest consumer of gold, reached a record for the fifth year in a row, with consumption rising 3 per cent over 1998 to 838 tonnes, though official imports fell sharply in the fourth quarter.

In the US, the second largest market, gold consumption rose 7 per cent year-on-year to almost 460 tonnes, with jewellery up 6 per cent.

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