October 08, 2015
PRECIOUS-Gold, silver slide as China returns from holiday
* Gold slips from near-two-week high
* Silver drops 3 pct after four-day rally
* Coming up: Minutes of Fed's Sept 16-17 meet at 1800 GMT
(Reuters) - Gold fell from near-two-week highs and silver slumped 3 percent on Thursday, as Chinese investors sold the precious metals to take profits on return from a week-long holiday. Spot gold eased 0.2 percent to $1,143 an ounce by 0315 GMT. The metal had climbed to $1,153.30 in the previous session, its highest since Sept. 24, before closing 0.1 percent lower as the dollar gained. Silver fell as much as 3.2 percent before recovering slightly to trade down 2.6 percent at $15.65. Before Thursday, silver had rallied for four days, hitting a 3-1/2-month high earlier this week. Gold gained $30 an ounce during China's holiday between Oct. 1 and Oct. 7, while silver gained about $1.50 in the same period, as the dollar weakened on sluggish U.S. economic data. "There is some profit taking from the Chinese as both the metals moved considerably higher when they were away," said a bullion trader in Sydney. Platinum and palladium also fell. Gold's losses were capped by views that the Federal Reserve would delay the first rate hike in nearly a decade until 2016, and the trader said he was bullish about prices in the near term. "After the weak nonfarm payrolls report last week, expectations for a U.S. rate hike have been pushed to early next year. So the market does look good for now," he said. The U.S. central bank opted not to hike rates in September in the wake of cooling global growth and fears of a deepening slowdown in China. Fed Chair Yellen said a rate hike would come this year, but a recent string of weak U.S. economic data has prompted the market to push back expectations. The minutes from the Fed's last meeting in September will be released later on Thursday, with markets watching out for U.S. central bank officials' views on the global economy and the impact on U.S. monetary policy. A delayed rate rise could support gold in the near term. The metal had earlier come under pressure from expectations that the Fed may raise interest rates this year, potentially lifting the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion. Elsewhere, SPDR Gold Trust, the top gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings fell 0.26 percent to 687.20 tonnes on Wednesday.