Gold dips, heads for second weekly loss

Gold slipped on Friday, under pressure from tumbling equity markets, a firmer dollar and worries about rising global interest rates.
Updated 09 February 2018
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Gold dips, heads for second weekly loss

LONDON: Gold slipped on Friday, under pressure from tumbling equity markets, a firmer dollar and worries about rising global interest rates, but still found some support as a safe haven asset in times of market turmoil.
The dollar rose against a currency basket, heading for its best week since late October, while a 4 percent drop in Chinese shares dealt a fresh blow to world markets that have been reeling on worries about rising borrowing costs and soaring volatility.
“Just like any other commodity gold is getting caught up in risk reduction, but overall the stock market gyrations have most certainly provided underlying support,” said Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank. Although the dollar had strengthened, he said investors were watching to see if the US administration’s planned tax cuts boosted the economy.
“If it doesn’t, it could have a negative growth impact, that’s not going to be dollar-positive,” he said.
A strong dollar makes dollar-priced gold costlier for non-US investors. Spot gold fell 0.2 percent to $1,316.61 an ounce at 1300 GMT. Prices touched their lowest since Jan. 4 at $1,306.81 on Thursday, and the precious metal is down 1 percent for the week so far, heading for a second straight weekly drop.
US gold futures were flat at $1,318.90 per ounce. The yield on benchmark 10-year US Treasuries , which tends to be the driver of global borrowing costs, was hovering at 2.86 percent, just short of both its Thursday peak and Monday’s four-year high of 2.885 percent.
“The threat of rising interest rates will have some downside pressure on gold,” said Argonaut Securities analyst Helen Lau. “However, in the near-term gold will gain due to volatile markets.”
Rising yields increase the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion. Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust , the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, have fallen over the last three sessions, and declined 1.7 percent so far this week, the worst since the week ended July 30, 2017.
Silver fell 0.4 percent to $16.36 an ounce, after touching its lowest since Dec. 22, 2017 at $16.22 on Thursday. Platinum rose 0.1 percent to $970.20 an ounce. It hit its lowest since Jan. 10 at $965 in the previous session. Palladium rose 0.9 percent to $971.47.
It marked its lowest since Oct. 25, 2017 at $958.95 on Thursday. “Following the recent declines, platinum and palladium are back to parity. Given our outlook for a slowdown in global car sales, we do not see the recent sell-off in palladium as a buying opportunity and maintain a bearish view,” said Julius Baer in a note.


Financial crime leads to billions of lost business in Middle East, survey finds

Updated 24 May 2018
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Financial crime leads to billions of lost business in Middle East, survey finds

  • Some 45 percent of MENA respondents in Thomson Reuters victims of fraud, corruption and bribery
  • 77 percent of MENA respondents deliberately avoided customers, suppliers, countries or industries viewed as most exposed to financial crime.

LONDON: Middle Eastern companies are losing billions of dollars in business opportunities because of fears about financial crime, according to a Thomson Reuters survey published on Thursday.

Concern about the possibility of severe financial and reputational damage due to regulatory breaches leads foreign investors and firms to shun companies and entire regions where they see “heightened risk.”

In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), 77 percent of survey respondents said that they deliberately avoided customers, suppliers, countries or industries which they viewed as most exposed to financial crime.

“The impact in terms of lost opportunities at both organizational and national level is difficult to quantify, but likely to impact productivity and economic development,” Thomson Reuters said.

The report was conducted online by an independent third party in March 2018. More than 2,000 senior managers at large global organizations completed the survey, from 19 countries.

In a hard-hitting conclusion, the report said: “For the first time our research has put a price on financial crime: three and a half percent of corporate turnover for the 2,373 large companies in our survey alone. That adds up to a staggering $1.45 trillion.”

Financial crime was said to blight individual lives and undermine the ability of governments to provide key services such as education and health. The IMF has shown that it reduces economic growth and social cohesion.

Che Sidanius, global head of financial crime regulation at Thomson Reuters, said that financial crime caused “incalculable” harm around the world. The proceeds of activities spanning bribery, corruption, fraud, and narcotics trafficking have been implicated in the financing of terrorism, human rights abuses such as slavery and child labor, and environmental crime.

“This has serious economic and social costs in terms of the lost revenues to national exchequers that could be invested in social development, and in terms of the impact on individual lives,” Sidanius said.

Other key findings were that 45 percent of MENA respondents had been a victim of financial crime as opposed to 47 percent globally; 96 percent believed that bribery and corruption was an important issue to tackle; 57 percent indicated that the consequences of bribery and corruption meant less government revenue; only 59 percent said that they fully conducted due diligence; and only 60 percent fully conducted due diligence, the report said.