US Monetary Policy “Unlikely to Change” Whoever Wins Election

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Wholesale market gold prices extended their gains from a day earlier Tuesday, rising above $1690 an ounce in London this morning – 1% up on yesterday's two-month low – while stocks and commodities also ticked higher and US Treasury bonds fell, as voters head to the polls for the US presidential election.

Silver prices climbed to $31.43 an ounce – 2.4% up yesterday's low.

"A Romney victory in the presidential race could push interest rates up," says a note from HSBC, "[while] an Obama re-election could lower them. Lower interest rates historically have helped gold prices and higher rates have been gold-negative."

"Even if Romney wins," adds a note from UBS, "monetary policy in the short-to-medium-term is unlikely to change...[quantitative easing] will remain in place at least for the next fourteen months should subdued growth expectations play out, and gold participants need to bear this in mind."

"Immediately after the election," says HSBC, "the lame-duck Congress and the president will face the question of what to do about the so-called fiscal cliff, the USD530bn in tax increases and USD160bn in spending cuts scheduled to take effect in January 2013...if this issue spills over into January [it] could have important ramifications for gold prices, as uncertainty could propel them higher."

"America is facing an urgent crisis, barely discussed during the fall's election campaign," a group of asset managers and pension funds, led by BlackRock, that was placed in US newspaper advertising Monday.

"Every day we go without a resolution to the fiscal cliff will erode confidence," said BlackRock chief executive Larry Fink.

Workers in Greece meantime have begun a 48 hour strike today, ahead of tomorrow evening's vote on a fresh austerity package that prime minister Antonis Samaras has promised will be "the final one".

Elsewhere in Europe, the services sector in Germany and France continued to contract last month, and at an accelerated rate, according to purchasing managers index data published this morning.

The same was true for the Eurozone as whole. Italy and Spain saw slight improvements in their services PMIs, although both remain below 50 thus indicating ongoing sector contraction.

German factory orders meantime fell by a seasonally adjusted 3.3% in September compared to a month earlier, the biggest month-on-month drop in a year, data published Tuesday by the Bundesbank show.

"Germany's economy is performing better than most of the others in the Euro area, but it won't generate strong growth in the current quarter," says Nick Matthews, senior European economist at Nomura in London.

The volume of gold bullion imported by China from Hong Kong rose 30% in September compared to a month earlier, with gross gold imports hitting 69.71 tonnes, Hong Kong customs data published Monday show. Net imports rose by 54% month-on-month to 41.56 tonnes.

"August was a very weak month, however, which puts the latest increase somewhat into perspective," says today's commodities note from Commerzbank.

If China were to import similar quantities of gold from Hong Kong in the current quarter, this would doubtless lend support to the gold price."

Here in the West, private individuals took advantage of the fall in gold prices to add to their positions during October, the latest Gold Investor Index data published today by online gold and silver exchange BullionVault show.

The Gold Investor Index, which tracks the number of net buyers and sellers of gold on BullionVault over the month, rose to 56.0 last month – up from 52.5 in September, and the highest reading since May. A reading above 50 indicates more net buyers than net sellers. The total amount of gold owned by BullionVault users passed one million ounces last month.

In the US meantime, the volume of gold held to back the world's biggest gold ETF, SPDR Gold Shares (GLD), fell back Monday to 1332.4 tonnes, although it remains within 1% of the all-time high volume hit last month.

In South Africa, gold mining firm Gold Fields has announced the strike at its KDC East Mine has ended, after it reinstated most of the 8100 workers it dismissed last month as part of a deal with the National Union of Mineworkers.

Source: Bullion Vault

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