U.S. dollar gold prices traded slightly lower Friday morning in London, hovering around $1,610 an ounce for most of the session, as stock markets also edged lower and U.S. Treasuries gained, after trade data from China provided further signs of economic slowdown.
China's trade surplus fell by 20% month-on-month in July, with both import and export growth slowing, according to official data published Friday.
"Monetary policy easing has to be more aggressive in the remainder of the year. . .[to avoid a] hard landing," reckons Liu Li-Gang, Hong Kong-based head of Greater China economics at ANZ Bank.
"Gold is trading broadly in line with other asset classes this morning as you see disappointment in the Chinese data, and that flows into the U.S. dollar," says Tom Kendall, analyst at Credit Suisse.
Silver prices meantime traded just below $28 per ounce this morning—slightly above where they started the week—while other industrial commodities also ticked lower.
Heading into the weekend, gold prices looked set to end the week little changed by Friday lunchtime in London, with silver prices similarly flat.
"Gold prices seem reluctant to move out from their $20 comfort zone centered on $1,610 and the risk is of a retest of the lower end," says ANZ senior commodities strategist Nick Trevethan.
"Otherwise, bullion looks set to mark time until the Federal Reserve symposium [at Jackson Hole] at the end of the month, and to see how the [European Central Bank] intends to address the crisis in Europe."
"The euro itself does not need to be saved," says former ECB chief economist Otmar Issing in an interview with CNBC.
"What has to be saved is the stability of the euro and the euro area. The question [of] how many countries can participate is the challenge with which Europe is confronted."
Issing added that those calling for debt mutualization in the form of so-called Eurobonds should "shut up."
"[Politicians] always give the impression that they have the right medicine, which is more money," he said.
"Markets will always ask for more. So this will be an endless game and politicians will always be seen as prisoners of this process."
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy did not rule out the prospect of Spain requesting a bailout when he spoke to reporters last week, while yesterday a member of Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti's cabinet said Italian leads held "lengthy" discussions on whether Italy should ask for a bailout.
"We still have some time to discuss it. We will see what the conditions will be," Italy's Education Minister Francesco Profumo said Thursday.
The case against British bank Standard Chartered, which the New York Department of Financial Services has accused of being a "rogue institution" over dealings with Iran, is primarily based on a failure to maintain proper records rather than the bank's role in the deals themselves, newswire Reuters reports.
"There are fewer gray areas in a records case than there would be in a case involving more complicated, and harder to prove, federal laws that have restricted or prohibited dollar transactions with sanctioned countries such as Iran," Reuters reports.
Iran meantime has been overtaken by Iraq as the second-largest OPEC oil producer for the first time since the 1980s, the Financial Times reports, citing figures from the International Energy Agency in Paris.
Editor of Gold News, the analysis and investment research site from world-leading gold ownership service BullionVault, Ben Traynor was formerly editor of the Fleet Street Letter, the UK's longest-running investment letter. A Cambridge economics graduate, he is a professional writer and editor with a specialist interest in monetary economics.
(c) BullionVault 2012
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