August 21, 2015
Spot Gold Near Five-Week Top as China Worries Spark Safe-Haven Demand
(Reuters) - Spot gold hits highest level in more than a month on Friday after weak factory growth in China fanned worries that the world's second largest economy may be slowing sharply, sparking safe-haven demand for the metal.
Activity in China's factory sector shrank at its fastest pace in almost 6-1/2 years in August as domestic and export demand dwindled, a private survey showed.
Asian stocks fell, following Wall Street, as fears took hold of a China-led deceleration in global growth.
A mini debt crisis in northern China is exposing cracks in a financial pillar of the country's economic revival plan: the $430 billion loan-guarantee industry.
"We've definitely seen a bit of a safe-haven bid return for gold," said analyst Daniel Hynes of ANZ in Sydney.
Growing expectations a U.S. rate hike would be delayed to December after a soft run of data also supported gold, he added.
Spot gold rose 0.6 percent to $1,159.16 an ounce by 0152 GMT, having struck the highest since July 13 at $1,160.80
U.S. gold was bid up 0.5 percent to $1,158.50, having hit its loftiest level since mid July.
"A break out above the $1156-1157 level would signal a further extension of the (upwards) trend," said a trader in Singapore.
The dollar fell to its lowest against a basket of currencies on Friday, making gold more affordable to holders of other currencies.
The dollar's fortunes have diminished after comments by Federal Reserve officials this week suggesting they could not yet pin down a September rate rise given lagging inflation and a weak global economy.
Still, U.S. home resales rose to a near 8-1/2-year high in July and factory activity in the mid-Atlantic region picked up this month, fresh signs of steady economic growth that likely keeps the Federal Reserve on track to raise interest rates this year.
Elsewhere, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras resigned on Thursday, hoping to strengthen his hold on power in snap elections after seven months in office in which he fought Greece's creditors for a better bailout deal but had to cave in.
Silver was also preparing for a move higher once it breaks through a ceiling around $15.60, the trader said,, as selling was being easily absorbed. Spot silver was last bid at $15.50, down 0.3 percent.