The price of physical gold crept higher early Friday, recovering half of this week’s 5% loss to near six-month lows as the euro currency rallied from 12-month lows and world stock markets held flat.
The last London gold fix of 2011 came in at $1,574.50 per ounce — some 11.6% higher from the end of 2010, and recording gold’s 11th consecutive year of gains.
U.S. crude oil neared the year’s end just shy of $100 per barrel, also 11% up from 2010.
The MSCI index of world stock markets has lost 8% in 2011.
Silver bullion lost almost 9% against the U.S. dollar this year, recording near-all-time highs in April just shy of $50 per ounce but retreating Thursday as low as $26.25.
“People close their profitable positions to cash out before the year-end,” said Nick Trevethan, ANZ Bank’s senior commodity strategist. “Gold is still up on the year, and there are relatively few markets moving in the positive territory.”
“Base metals have not fared well this year, with falls recorded across the complex,” said Marc Ground at Standard Bank, listing 2011 losses of 18.6% in aluminum, 20.7% in copper and 28.7% in tin.
“Gold has done its job this year of protecting investors,” Bloomberg quoted Michael Cuggino at the $15 billion Permanent Portfolio Solutions in San Francisco. “Some people will get out of gold, but the longer-term investors will remain.”
On a technical analysis of chart patterns, Russell Browne at Scotia Mocatta in New York said, “The longer-term uptrend off the October 2008 low remains intact but was breached on an intraday basis (on Thursday) and is likely to be re-tested and breached in the short term.”
“Gold is going to go higher, but it’s not going to go in a straight line,” said Martin Murenbeeld at DundeeWealth in Toronto. “Gold has given positive returns, but it doesn’t necessarily do it in the way that gives comfort — and that makes people nervous.”
Adrian Ash of BullionVault contributed to this report.