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Gold ticks up from 2-week low as market eyes Greece

[SINGAPORE] Gold edged up on Thursday, after sliding for the past four sessions to a two-week low, with investors awaiting news on Greece's talks with its international lenders to avert a default for further trading cues.

Asian shares edged down on Thursday and the dollar eased, with investors on ice ahead of a meeting of European Union leaders later in the session as Greece continued last-minute efforts to avert a default. "Gold looks to range trade between US$1,169-$1,180 over the short term with the risk to the downside should positive news come out of the Greek debt negotiations," Samuel Laughlin, a metals dealer at MKS Group said in a note.

Spot gold rose 0.2 per cent to US$1,176.80 an ounce by 0708 GMT, after dropping 2.2 per cent in the past four sessions. Prices fell to a two-week low of US$1,171.03 on Wednesday.

Gold, which is seen as a safe haven during times of financial and economic uncertainties, is facing additional pressure from a stronger dollar and expectations of a US interest rate increase.

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The dollar steadied after giving back gains against the yen early as debt negotiations to avert a Greek debt default hit a bump, while the euro treaded water after showing a more limited response.

Athens' talks with creditors bogged down on details, with next week's deadline to repay 1.6 billion euros to the International Monetary Fund looming and threatening to trigger the country's removal from the euro zone.

The outlook for the dollar, however, remained upbeat amid expectations US interest rates in the world's largest economy would rise sooner than later.

Speculation that the US Federal Reserve will raise rates for the first time in nearly a decade has weighed on gold prices this year. Higher rates lift the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion.

Wednesday's data on US gross domestic product confirmed the improving outlook. The final figure for the first quarter showed contraction in the economy was less than previously estimated.