Gold for April delivery was slipping 80 cents to $1,119.30 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices have traded as high as $1,120.70 and as low as $1,089.10. The
was falling 0.26% to $80.27.
Gold came under pressure after the IMF announced it would sell its remaining 191.3 tons of gold. The addition of a massive amount of gold into the marketplace initially weighed on prices as investors feared there would not be enough demand to meet supply. Large emerging markets like China, India and Russia have been shoring up reserves and buying large amounts. The
previously bought 200 tons from the IMF in early November at a then-record high spot price of $1,045 an ounce and has hinted that it might be interested in buying the IMF's remaining stash.
Central banks have recently shifted from being net sellers of gold to net buyers. Typically banks buy when they have to reallocate their holdings as mandated by their governments. Over the last five years, China has increased its reserves from 600 tons to 1,054 tons to a total of 1.5%. All of Asia only holds about 2-3% of its reserves in gold according to Natalie Dempster, head of investment for the World Gold Council. India holds 6% compared to the U.S. and Portugal with 70% and 90%, respectively. Smaller central banks like Sri Lanka, Maresias and Kazakhstan have also been buying small tonnage. Any central bank buying could trigger momentum buying as investors follow suit and buy gold as an alternative asset.
Central banks might not come through this time. Reportedly, Sri Lanka and India have all said no to the IMF's gold, forcing it to sell the tonnage to the wider market, which is weighing on prices in the short term. "Central banks, I think for the moment, are on hiatus," says Jon Nadler, senior analyst at Kitco.com. "It's not a huge amount of gold to have to contend with
and the market could absorb it even if the dollar does not continue its ascent, which by the way I think is the dominate factor in the last couple of days ... for gold's move."
Gold was falling more than $10 on the news as prices abandoned their bid to break the critical $1,125 resistance area, but they were finding support around the $1,100 level. Weekly
initial jobless claims
also supported prices and helped gold pare its earlier losses as the disappointing number increased gold's appeal as a safe haven asset.
are adding 8 cents to $16.18 while copper was adding 2 cents to $3.26.
Mining stocks, typically a more leveraged way to
, were mixed.
was rising 2.19% to $38.97 after reporting better-than expected
of 61 cents a share.
was also rising 2.62% to $48.48 while
was higher by 2.04% to $39.44.
were slipping 1.96% to $37.61 after UBS downgraded the stock to neutral from buy.
was rising 2.76% to $19.01 after the company reported a solid fourth-quarter of adjusted earnings per share of 21 cents.
Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold
was adding 1.37% to $76.15.
Shares of the popular physically-backed ETF,
SPDR Gold Shares
, were flat at $109.38.
Written by Alix Steel in New York
Alix joined TheStreet.com TV in February 2007. Previously, she held positions in film and theater production, management, and legal administration. Alix has a degree in communications and theater from Northwestern University.