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Gold Prices Settle Flat, Putting Silver in Focus

Investors seem to have lost interest in gold and silver for the short term. The SPDR Gold Shares (GLD) shed less than 1 ton on Thursday as minor outflows continued.

Next week, the U.S. will release its inflation data for January. Including food and energy prices, which every other country does, inflation is at 1.5% vs. a year ago, well under the Federal Reserve's target of 2%. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke cites low inflation and high unemployment as two factors which support the agency's $600 billion bond buying program and low interest rates.

If inflation comes in hotter than expected, pressure could be on for the Fed to raise rates. If inflation is still anemic, low rates will persist. Low interest rates are typically good for gold and silver prices as investors buy the hard asset as a form of money that retains more value than paper currencies.

However, Goldman Sachs released a note on gold recently which said that gold is not a consistent inflation hedge and said inflation fears and loose monetary policies were already baked into higher gold prices. If inflation doesn't actually materialize, gold could see more downside. Goldman also goes on to say that gold doesn't fulfill its role of a safe haven asset in an investor' portfolio as tactical traders have made prices more volatile.

The investment bank has said that gold will hit a top in 2012 but before that could rise to more than $1,700 an ounce.

Gold mining stocks, a risky but profitable way to buy gold, were lower. Kinross Gold (KGC) was down 1.02% at $16.42 while Harmony Gold (HMY) lost 1.31% at $10.63.

Other gold stocks New Gold (NGD) and Gold Fields (GFI) were trading at $9.18 and $15.87, respectively.


More on Gold
Gold Price News
How to Invest in Gold

-- Written by Alix Steel in New York.



>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Alix Steel.

>To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/adsteel.

>To submit a news tip, send an email to: tips@thestreet.com.

Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks.
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