by Bill Musgrave – American Gold Exchange
Gold slid 0.2% to close just under $1,205 as indications that EU finance ministers are nearing a bailout agreement with Greece diminished safe-haven demand. The metal fell 1.8% on the week despite support from dovish FOMC minutes, released on Wednesday.
Reports are circulating that Eurozone officials and Greece have reached a preliminary agreement granting the struggling nation a four-month extension on the bailout that has kept it afloat since 2011. U.S. equities gained on renewed risk-appetite, with the Dow rising 0.9% and the S&P 500 0.6%, and the dollar edged up slightly.
Gold rallied earlier in the week after the minutes from the latest Fed meeting indicated that the central bankers are in no hurry to raise interest rates from near zero. The FOMC expressed concerns about the stronger dollar being “a persistent source of restraint” on growth in their last meeting, the minutes showed, and advocated “patience” before hiking rates. Traders now expect that the first rate hike to be deferred from June until September at the earliest.
The other precious metals fell harder than gold. Silver dropped 1% today for a weekly loss of 6.2%. Platinum lost 0.7% for the day and 4.1% for the week. Palladium fell 0.6% today and 1.8% this week.
At the Comex close: April gold slid $2.70 to $1,204.90; March silver fell 16 cents to $16.22; April platinum lost $8.16 to $1,157.75; March palladium fell $4.71 to $779.80 an ounce.