Gold Holds Steady


". . .while platinum and palladium eye U.S. car sales data."

The Wall Street Journal, Tatyana Shumsky

Gold futures held near steady on swirling concerns about another bailout for Greece, while platinum and palladium edged lower ahead of U.S. car-sales data.

The gold contract for June delivery was up $13.50, or 0.9%, at $1,549.40/oz. in midday trade on the COMEX.

European lawmakers are deliberating a fresh loan for Greece to bridge funding gaps in 2012 and possibly 2013 as the fiscally troubled country struggles to meet its debt obligations. Greece's sovereign-debt crisis has stoked investment demand for gold, as it first became apparent last year that the country could default on its government-issued bonds.

"Gold continues to be supported by the European sovereign-debt issues, and we do see bargain hunting on those dips," said Vision Financial Markets Metals Trading Director Dave Meger.

Meanwhile, platinum and palladium investors are awaiting U.S. car-sales figures, as they're widely used in catalytic converters, with auto-catalyst demand accounting for about 46% of platinum and 61% of palladium consumption, according to Johnson Matthey.

Analysts had tipped May auto sales to weaken from global supply chain disruptions in the wake of Japan's March earthquake and tsunami, which damaged key factories.

NYMEX platinum for July delivery, the most actively traded contract, was down $1.50, or 0.1%, at $1,832.50/oz. in midday trade.

The most actively traded palladium futures contract, for September delivery, was up $2.95, or 0.4%, at $781.90/oz.

A weaker dollar offered precious metals prices some support. The greenback slipped against a trade-weighted basket of currencies, with the ICE Dollar Index falling to 74.457 recently, from 75.506 late Tuesday in New York.

Precious metals futures, denominated in dollars, seem cheaper to investors holding foreign currencies when the dollar weakens.

Silver for June delivery, the most actively traded contract, was down $0.7, or 0.2%, at $38.23/oz.

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