"Bullish Macro Drivers, Not Dollar" Will Dictate Gold Prices in 2012 while "Intolerance Ringleader" Germany sees Economy Shrink

US Dollar Gold Prices hit a one-month high of just under 1647 per ounce Wednesday morning – up 5.1% since the start of 2012 –before falling back as the Dollar rallied.

The Gold Price in Euros touched levels not seen since December 8, hitting €41,502 per kilogram (€1290 per ounce), while the Euro currency fell to 15-month lows against the Dollar following disappointing German growth data.

The previous day saw spot market Dollar Gold Prices break through their 200 day moving average, which yesterday sat at $1626.86 per ounce by PM London Fix prices.

"The move higher today was not expected as it was against a bearish picture," writes Russell Browne, technical analyst at bullion bank Scotia Mocatta, adding that "it will take a number of days of closes above the 200 day moving average to give the bulls confidence to re-enter the market."

"While the Dollar may not see a significant correction soon," says a note from Societe Generale, "and is likely to continue to gain against the Euro as the Eurozone crisis persists, the negative effects of a stronger Dollar on gold are likely to be largely diminished in 2012, allowing the bullish macro drivers to dictate price action once again."

Silver Prices meantime rose to $30.31 per ounce – level with the week's high and 8.6% up for the month so far – before they too eased back, while stocks and commodities ticked lower and major government bond prices gained.

Germany's economy
shrank by 0.25% in the fourth quarter of 2010, newswire Reuters reports, citing
an official from the Federal Statistics Office. For 2011 as a whole, gross
domestic product grew at 3.0%, down from 3.7% a year earlier, official data
show.

Growth in the Eurozone meantime was half that initially reported in Q3, European Union statistics agency Eurostat now says, after revising Q3 2011 growth from 0.2% to 0.1%.

"Germany cannot isolate itself so easily from tensions within the Eurozone," says Joerg Zeuner, chief economist at VP Bank in Liechtenstein.

"In addition the export sector is facing a difficult period given the fall in global demand."

"The best resolution [to the Eurozone crisis]...is that Germany take steps to reverse its trade surplus," argues Beijing-based economist Michael Pettis.

"[However,] countries that run large and persistent trade surpluses never seem to understand that their surpluses are mainly the consequences of domestic policies that generate additional domestic growth by absorbing foreign demand."

Italian prime minister Mario Monti has called for more support from the European Union ahead of a meeting in Berlin today with German chancellor Angela Merkel.

"I am demanding heavy sacrifices from Italians," he tells German newspaper Die Welt.

"[Unless] concrete advantages become visible...a protest against Europe will develop in Italy, including against Germany, which is seen as the ringleader of EU intolerance, and against the European Central Bank."

Almost the entire €489 billion the ECB lent to Eurozone banks at last month's 3-Year longer term refinancing operation has been redeposited with the central bank reports news agency Bloomberg, citing estimates from Barclays Capital made using ECB data.

"It's illusory to think that the [3-Year LTRO] will translate into credit generation," says Philippe Waechter, chief economist at Natixis Asset Management in Paris.

"It will assuage some of the anxiety banks have regarding their liquidity needs. But they've engaged into a massive overhaul of their strategy and shrinkage of their balance sheets, which is, coupled with the deteriorating economy, not compatible with increasing credit."

Authorities in Iran meantime have blamed Israel for a car bomb that killed a nuclear scientist in Tehran.

Also in Iran, local press reported yesterday that officials had denied rumors that the authorities were blocking any text messages that contained phrases such as 'Dollar' or 'foreign currency'. The imposition of US sanctions has reportedly led to increased interest in holding gold and Dollars as a hedge against Rial depreciation.

Gold Bullion dealers reported strong demand from India on Wednesday, Reuters reports, as the Rupee rallied 1.5% against the Dollar to hit a one month high. The weak Rupee saw record domestic Gold Prices in India last year, weighing on demand during what is traditionally a strong season for Buying Gold.

China meantime imported a record volume of gold from Hong Kong in November, according to official data. The Hong Kong government's Census and Statistics department reports that just under 102.8 tonnes of gold were imported by China, equivalent to 18% of China's total private sector gold consumption in 2010 by World Gold Council figures.

Imports from Hong Kong are generally regarded as a proxy for overall imports.

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