Precious Metals Buying Targets $1,400/oz. & $25/oz.

Gold and silver retreated from fresh record highs versus the dollar on Thursday at lunchtime in London, edging back from 1.3% and 4.5% overnight jumps respectively as the US currency paused in its plunge.

European stock market reversed early gains, but Asian stocks ended the day over 1.5% higher on the MSCI index, as the euro leapt to $1.41 and the yen squashed the dollar to a new 15-year low beneath yen81.

"It is no wonder the rally of precious metals has been relentless," said a Hong Kong dealer today. "Silver led the pack higher...Then gold took over.

"[Platinum and palladium] have been relatively tame...failing to hurdle last week's highs."

As crude oil rose back above $83.50 per barrel, the Canadian dollar today broke above parity to the US currency - only the second time since 1977.

But gold rose faster still, setting new record highs vs. the loonie at C$1,385 per ounce.

Priced in US dollars, gold and silver bullion hit $1,387 and $24.90 at Thursday morning's peak, and there are "large [numbers of] December option strikes at $1,400 and $25," notes one London dealer.

"Aggressive investor buying is pushing gold towards the next major resistance level of $1,400," agrees Walter de Wet at Standard Bank.

"Expectations of further quantitative easing by the Fed, continues to dominate precious metals markets. [But] the physical market remains weak, with gold scrap availability remaining high."

Wednesday's slump in the dollar - and concomitant rise in gold and silver - came after European Central Bank policy-maker Axel Weber told a conference that the ECB should halt its government-bond buying program, and start raising interest rates "before the phasing out" of the exceptional banking support offered since 2007.

"This statement had more effect on the market than the [US Federal Reserve] minutes," notes MKS Finance, a division of the Swiss refinery group.

"The cracks are getting wider, the crisis is upon us," says Marc Ostwald, strategist at Monument Securities in London.

Warning clients to pay attention to "the rifts that are opening up within Asia" over the US dollar's six-month tumble, Ostwald points to unilateral controls on foreign-investment flows and exchange rates by Russia, Singapore and Taiwan.

Bank of Korea chief Kim Choong-Soo today rebuffed comments from a "certain country" - Japan's finance minister Yoshihiko Noda - questioning Seoul's ability to lead next month's G20 summit of advanced and emerging economies because of its repeated interventions in the currency market.

Tokyo meantime confirmed that it spent yen2.1 trillion ($25bn) last month buying US dollars to try and halt the yen's rise.

"We believe many hedge funds may have enjoyed [in Sept.] their highest earnings for the past year," says a report from Japanese bank Nomura, quoted by the Financial Times' Alpha blog, pointing to the slumping-dollar-led surge in bonds, equities and commodity prices.

"Accordingly, we now expect those hedge funds to lock in those profits ahead of their year-end book closing in November."

Noting that Fed chairman Ben Bernanke is due to speak on monetary policy Friday, "The main risk [to silver and gold prices] is that he might...reign in expectations of quantitative easing," says Standard Bank's Walter de Wet.

"This could prompt a pull back in precious metals, possibly amplified by profit taking ahead of the weekend...[But] we anticipate some seasonal jewelry demand to prompt some buying into dips."

Currently moving towards the peak of its post-harvest buying season, Indian gold demand will see the Hindu festival of Diwali end on Nov. 5.

How best to buy gold and silver? "If there's an easier way, I've yet to find it," says one BullionVault user...

Adrian Ash runs the research desk at BullionVault. Formerly head of editorial at Fleet Street Publications - London's top publisher of financial advice for private investors - he was City correspondent for The Daily Reckoning from 2003 to 2008, and is now a regular contributor to a number of investment websites.

About the Author
Adrian Ash

Adrian Ash runs the research desk at BullionVault. Formerly head of editorial at Fleet Street Publications – London's top publisher of financial advice for private investors – he was City correspondent for The Daily Reckoning from 2003 to 2008, and is now a regular contributor to a number of investment websites.

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