Gold prices may scale new high in early 2009

New Delhi, April 10 The ongoing secular bull market for gold would sustain itself for at least three more years and the yellow metal would probably make a new high as one enters 2009, according to Mr Joseph M Foster, Portfolio Manager, Van Eck International, New York.

Stating that financial uncertainty and stressed credit markets were driving gold prices, Mr Foster, who manages AIG PB Equity Fund Gold and other gold funds, told Business Line here that the gold market was currently going through a consolidation phase. Gold price hit a high of $1,030 an ounce in mid-March this year.

“Once this phase of consolidation runs its course, more investors will come back to gold and will see it move higher as we approach the year-end and probably make a new high as we move into 2009. In the longer term, all the fundamentals are in place for this bull market to sustain itself for at least another three years in my view. You look at the stress in the credit markets, supply demand picture for gold, it is all very positive for the gold environment,” he said.

Mr Foster was here on the occasion of the launch of AIG’s World Gold Fund, which is an open ended fund of a funds scheme that would invest predominantly invest in units of AIG PB Equity Fund Gold.

The AIG PB Equity Fund Gold invests worldwide in stocks issued by companies engaged primarily in the extraction, processing and marketing of gold.

Meanwhile, on whether he expects the International Monetary Fund’s plan to sell 400 tonnes of gold to affect the market, Mr Foster said that any such move would not have much impact at all.

“First of all we are not sure they (IMF) are going to make the sale, as it has to be approved by the US Congress. In the past every time IMF has proposed to make the sale, Congress has voted it down. That remains to be seen. If they do make the sale, that would be done under the auspices of central bank gold agreement. The UMF is part of the agreement.

European central banks are selling gold under this agreement. The members to the agreement (including IMF) cannot cumulatively sell more than 500 tonnes a year. “So IMF’s plan is already pretty much priced in the market. It would not have much impact at all,” he said.

He also highlighted that the easy monetary policy stance adopted by most central banks, including the US Federal Reserve, was a positive move for gold as more liquidity is pumped into the financial system.

K.R. Srivats

India may soon fix gold prices for global market

Mumbai, April 21 (IANS) India, one of the leading gold consumers in the world, may soon manage to move from being a mere “price taker” to a “price maker” in the world of royal metal. Tired of the wild fluctuations of gold price in the London Bullion Market and its impact on Indian market, Bombay Bullion Association (BBA), in collaboration with Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), National Multi-Commodity Exchange (NMCE), IT People (India) Ltd and Reliance Money Ltd, has decided to set up its own trading platform for gold.

Though the representatives of the respective partners of the proposed joint venture (JV) denied that the decision had, “anything to do with the recent pole-vaulting of gold price”, they agreed with the the fact that “it’s time we moved from price taker to price maker”.

Asked whether the yet-to-be formed limited company has obtained the requisite permission from the authorities including the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), director and CEO of Reliance Money Sudip Bandyopadhyay said here Monday: “We have not approached them so far but we will be intimating the authorities for necessary clearances. After all, we want to launch it in a month’s time.”

Talking about the trading platform, Bandyopadhyay said the Bullion Spot Market (BSM) will be an over the counter bullion trading platform which would “help jewelers not only in monitoring the international bullion price fluctuations on real time basis, but will also facilitate retail investors in the purchase of gold coins and bars”.

The price fluctuation was a thorny issue for the gold traders. Though India was a leading consumer of gold, a “total helplessness” has gripped the traders in controlling the prices, he added.

Suresh Hundia, president of BBA, said: “That is one of the reasons why because we are launching such a platform. In the proposed platform, we will focus on setting up the gold in line with the blobal market cues.”

“Moreover, it is not just the trading platform which we plan to launch. We also want to set up a hallmarking centre so that it would help us in determining the prices of both gold and silver, the way it is being done in the AM/PM system in London,” he added.

Talking about the functioning of the trading platform, Bandyopadhyay said: “The company itself will not deal with trading but it will just provide a platform, whereby the gold could be purchased and sold off via online and be handled by the IT People, while BSE along with NMCE would look into the global variations and provide the link-up required with the commodities market.”

Talking about the physical distribution, Bandyopadhyay said it would be done through various centres. “As far as we are concerned, we will contribute through our strong retail presence with over 10,000 plus outlets spread across 5,000 towns. In nutshell, we would help retail investors in purchasing gold from IT People providing technical knowledge for the exercise,” he said.

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