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Gold futures hit USD1,600 an ounce on global debt fears

Commodities Jul 18, 2011 03:39AM ET
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Investing.com – Gold futures rallied to a fresh record high for a fourth day on Monday, climbing past USD1,600 an ounce amid fears over a potential U.S. sovereign debt default and ongoing concerns over the euro zone’s debt crisis.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for August delivery traded at USD1,597.45 a troy ounce during late Asian trade, climbing 0.21%.                

It earlier rose as much as 0.4% to trade at a record high USD1,600.85 a troy ounce, eclipsing the previous all-time high of USD1,594.75 a troy ounce it hit last Thursday.

Gold prices advanced for the 11th consecutive day, its longest stretch of gains since August 1970. Euro-denominated gold prices rose to a record high of EUR1,138.85 a troy ounce.

U.S. President Barack Obama said over the weekend that the U.S. government was “running out of time” in regards to negotiations over lifting the country’s USD14.3 trillion debt ceiling before an August 2 deadline.

Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers said that a U.S. debt default would cause panic throughout the financial system and long-term uncertainty.

Ratings agencies Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s both warned last week that a failure to raise the debt limit in time would result in a downgrade in the credit rating of the world’s largest economy.

Meanwhile, Euro zone finance ministers were to meet Thursday to focus on “the financial stability of the euro area as a whole and the future financing of the Greek program,” according to the president of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy.

The European Banking Authority said Friday that eight banks out of the region’s 90 top lenders failed its stress tests, with a combined capital shortfall of EUR2.5 billion.

The EBA said 16 banks narrowly passed the stress tests. Of the banks that failed the tests, five were in Spain, two in Greece and one in Austria, while all of the region’s biggest firms passed the test.

While the results were better-than-expected, the tests did not include the possibility of a sovereign debt default, which many believe was a likely outcome for Greece.

Elsewhere, silver for September delivery jumped 1.53% to trade at a ten-week high of USD39.91 a troy ounce, as investors sought a cheaper alternative to gold.

Gold futures hit USD1,600 an ounce on global debt fears
 

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