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Gold Prices Rise on Jackson Hole Optimism

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Gold prices were rising Friday ahead of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's speech in Jackson Hole, Wyo., as investors anticipate the possibility of monetary stimulus at the annual economic symposium.

Gold for December delivery was rising $5 to $1,662.10 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. The gold price traded as high as $1,663 and as low as $1,655.10 an ounce, while the spot price was dipping 80 cents, according to Kitco's gold index.

Gold traders have waited most of this week and last week to see if the Fed would follow up its statement in last Wednesday's Federal Open Market Committee minutes -- that it would consider policy action in September -- with a fresh round of quantitative easing.

Silver prices for September delivery were gaining 19 cents to $30.56 an ounce, while the U.S. dollar index was sinking 0.54% to $81.28.

St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said Friday morning on Bloomberg Television that now may be the time to cut interest rates on reserves. Last week Bullard had downplayed the possibility of easing in the near term in an interview on CNBC. His comment appeared to conflict with the U.S. central bank's previous-day statement that it would consider options in September.

Meanwhile, a European Union official told reporters in Brussels on Friday that the European Central Bank "should be given full supervisory powers related to financial stability." In other words, the ECB would hold the sole power to grant bank licenses within the eurozone.

This move would allow the ECB easier navigation to offer direct bank bailouts from the currency area's firewall fun, according to Bloomberg.

Should Bernanke and central bankers pass the Jackson Hole opportunity to implement easing, the Fed will meet again later this month to issue another statement.

The ECB is expected to issue minutes next week of its most recent monetary policy meeting. It will be the eurozone central bank's first announcement in more than a month. Investors are awaiting some form of stimulus there as talks between Germany and Greece have shown improvement throughout the past month.

-- Written by Joe Deaux in Tampa, Fla.

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