Gold hits another record

06/18/2010 2:51 pm EST

Focus: STOCKS

Jim Jubak

Founder and Editor, JubakPicks.com

Gold for August delivery climbed to $1,258 an ounce today, June 18,  breaking the record set yesterday.

Yes, gold is being propelled to record after record by investors looking for a safe haven from worries about the euro and about global economic growth, and by traders who know a momentum play when they see one.

But central bank activity—or actually a lack of it—is playing a part too.

The latest figures from the World Gold Council show virtually no selling by European central banks in the last quarter—even though under the latest Central Bank Gold Agreement these banks are allowed to sell about 400 metric tons of gold. The only seller of significance so far in 2010 has been the IMF (International Monetary Fund), which has sold just 39 metric tons since mid-February.

A few central banks have been buying. Russia has bought 27 metric tons, taking its gold holdings up to 5.5% of its total reserves. The Philippines bought almost 10 metric tons in March. That took the country’s gold position to 13.7% of reserves.

In most years recently gold prices have had to climb in the face of central bank selling. The absence of that downward pressure is one reason that gold has pushed to new highs in 2010. While the world’s central banks have not been selling, SPDR Gold Shares, the largest gold ETF (exchange traded fund), has increased its gold holdings by 162 metric tons.

It always just comes down to supply and demand. Even for gold.

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