The gold price has returned to familiar chart territory at just under $1,430 per ounce, following a strong recovery last Thursday and Friday that saw gold close for the week at $1,419. Bids have also been returning for risk trades, as the nuclear situation in Japan has improved and central bank intervention appears to have saved the yen carry trade. In particular, commodity prices are once again rising, as seen by the movement of the Continuous Commodity Index at the end of last week.
Crude oil prices have once again regained upward momentum on news of western air strikes on Libyan forces still loyal to Colonel Gaddafi. This situation is bullish for crude oil prices, and will likely lead to renewed strength across the whole commodity complex owing to oil’s essential role in the harvesting and extraction of other commodities.
gold-shavingsRising oil prices will also help boost the gold price. Historically, oil purchases were conducted in gold. Oil producing nations often use the US dollars gained from oil sales to buy gold. This trend is increasing as the dollar weakens and concerns about the fiscal propriety of the US government and Federal Reserve grow.
Interestingly, Iran – the fourth largest producer of crude oil and the nation reported to have the third-highest proven reserves of oil – appears to have been one of the biggest recent OPEC buyers of gold. As reported by the Financial Times yesterday, a diplomatic cable obtained by Wikileaks dated June 2006 reported the Bank of England’s observation of “significant moves by Iran to purchase gold” as a means of protecting its reserves from the risk of seizure.
Observers believe that the Iranian government now holds over 300 tonnes of gold bullion – up from 168.4 tonnes in 1996. In the last decade Iran has been one of the largest bullion buyers after China, Russia and India, and is now believed to be among the 20 largest gold reserve holders. Iran is thought to hold roughly the same amount of gold as the UK. It’s unlikely that the Iranians have stopped buying.