Gold hits four-week low on firmer dollar amid US rate hike forecasts

An employee sorts gold bars in this file photo. (Reuters)
Updated 08 February 2018
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Gold hits four-week low on firmer dollar amid US rate hike forecasts

LONDON: Gold prices dropped for a third straight session on Thursday and hit a fresh four-week low as investors liquidated their long positions on a firmer dollar, while expectations of more US rate hikes this year also weighed on the market.
Spot gold was down 0.4 percent at $1,312.41 per ounce, after hitting its lowest since Jan. 10 at $1,309.51 earlier in the session. US gold futures for April delivery were nearly flat at $1,314.50 per ounce.
The dollar rose on Wednesday, marking its biggest one-day gain in more than three months against a basket of currencies. It was steady at 90.269 on Thursday.
“There was consistent selling on Comex ... and offers above the $1,320 cash level were enough to prevent an advance,” said MKS PAMP Group trader Alex Thorndike.
“Spot gold slowly began to work its way lower with ongoing liquidation seen from managed money and leveraged clients — those who were still buying aggressively above $1,340.”
Asian shares flirted with six-week lows on Thursday, while US stocks finished lower on Wednesday, losing ground late in the session as a jump in Treasury yields kept investor nervousness high. The US Federal Reserve will stick to its plan for “steady, gradual” interest rate increases, San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank President John Williams said on Wednesday despite market gyrations and strong data on US wage growth that has bond traders pricing in faster rising inflation.
Hikes in interest rates lead to higher bond yields and dampen the demand for non-yielding gold. The yellow metal is also used as a hedge against inflation.
“The shifting Fed narrative that is gathering hawkish following could be the most significant thorn in the gold bulls side,” said Stephen Innes, head of trading APAC at OANDA. Spot gold is expected to fall more to $1,301 as it has pierced below a support at $1,316 per ounce, according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao. Holdings at SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund (ETF), dropped 0.29 percent to 826.90 tons on Wednesday from 829.27 tons on Tuesday. Holdings fell for a second straight session after they marked their worst one-day drop since December 2016 on Tuesday.
“The heavy falls in equities appear to have impacted ETF investors,” ANZ analysts said in a note.
Among other precious metals, silver was little changed at $16.37 per ounce after touching its lowest since Dec. 22 at $16.22 earlier in the session. Platinum declined 0.2 percent to $977.50 per ounce, after touching its lowest since Jan. 11 on Wednesday. Palladium fell 0.3 percent to $981.55 per ounce. Earlier in the session, it hit $977.22, its lowest since Nov. 15.


GITEX Tech showcases Saudi Arabia’s regional innovation drive

Updated 16 October 2018
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GITEX Tech showcases Saudi Arabia’s regional innovation drive

DUBAI: Dubai’s GITEX Technology week showcased the region’s ability to take the lead in innovation technology, with Saudi Arabia on its way to take the driver’s seat, according to consulting firm Accenture’s country managing director in Saudi Arabia.
“Saudi Arabia will be a leader in supporting innovation and the development of new technology in the region,” Khaled Al-Dhaher told Arab News.
“I think we (Arab countries) can always complement each other in the region to make sure we have the best innovation that is relevant for us and focused on the needs of our markets,” he added.
Among the main drivers behind the Kingdom’s surge into innovation and incubation is the Center of Initiatives at Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz Foundation (Misk), which is an exclusive partner at GITEX Future Stars 2018.
Misk Innovation showcased 20 Saudi-based start-ups and incubators, ranging from 3D printing technology (SHAKL) to e-commerce (Zid) to online grocery shopping (ZADFresh).
Another prominent player from the Kingdom was the Badir Program, which helps to sustain and develop pioneering environments within the Kingdom and stays in line with following the crown prince’s Vision 2030 plan.
The plan, unveiled in 2016, is a comprehensive blueprint for the future, laying out a strategy and clear targets to diversify Saudi Arabia’s economy, and develop public service sectors such as health, education, infrastructure, recreation and tourism.
“We see a big support toward start-ups in terms of seed funding, arranging funding rounds, investment funding rounds, which actually is very important to accelerate the growth of these start-ups,” Badir Program’s CEO Nawaf Al-Sahhaf told Arab News, adding: “They (start-ups) created more than 2,000 jobs in the last two years.”
The 38th annual exhibition, which kicked off on Sunday, centered around the rise of smart cities. Dubai’s government featured high-tech stands promoting the emirate’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid’s vision of a totally smart Dubai.
While Dubai is ahead of Saudi Arabia in this respect, the latter is not far behind.
“Saudi Arabia is building new cities now, and one of them is NEOM. Smart cities needs smart solutions and smart products, so Saudi Arabia is a big supporter of entrepreneurs and the private sector in order to come up with these smart solutions,” Al-Sahhaf said.
“Saudi Arabia is moving in this [Smart] direction and we are in good hands,” he added.
The Saudi Technology Development and Investment Company, Taqania, was also featured at the exhibition. Owned by the Kingdom’s Public Investment Fund, Taqania is one of Saudi Arabia’s main proponents in a non-oil dependent Kingdom aligned with Vision 2030, and invests in technology that contributes to the country’s economic diversification.
The exhibition is split among several categories including Gulf Comms & Mobility, Global Solution Providers, Smart Workplace & Smart Homes, Value-Added Distributors, Printing & Automation, Consumer Tech, Enterprise Software, Network & Security, Future Tech and IOT Big Cloud Data.
GITEX Technology week runs from Oct. 14 to 18, with GITEX Future Stars taking place from Oct. 14 to 17.