Author: Paul Ploumis13 Jun 2014 Last updated at 01:16:20 GMT
LONDON (Scrap Monster): Gold and Silver both pushed to new 2-week highs Thursday lunchtime in London, extending this week's gains beyond 1.4% but lagging crude oil's rise as Islamist insurgents pushed south in Iraq, meeting no opposition from government troops.
Platinum and palladium prices meantime fell hard as South Africa's AMCU union passed a new wage offer to 70,000 miners, now on strike since January.
With gold and silver trading above $1270 and $19.35 per ounce respectively, new US data meantime showed weaker-than-expected growth in May's retail sales, but previous months were revised higher.
Jobless claims for last week came in above analysts' consensus forecast, but rose only slightly from end-May's new 6-year low.
"Baghdad did not heed the KRG's warnings," says lieutenant general Jabbar Yawar of northern Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government.
"The Iraqi Army has abandoned its posts. [Our] Peshmerga reinforcements have been dispatched to fill their places," securing the key oil-industry city of Kirkuk.
US crude oil contracts rose Thursday to 8-month highs, and Europe's main Brent contract rose more than 2% to the highest level since end-March at $112 per barrel.
"Oil is spiking on back of the Iraq news," says one London dealing desk in a note, "and might help gold go the same way, at least in very short term."
But the broader financial markets' high liquidity and low volatility, counters FX strategist Steven Barrow at Standard Bank, "[make] it unlikely that Iraq will derail the risk-on environment" for Western investment flows.
"When [bullish] positioning has fallen to a pronounced low," says an Asian trading house, looking at speculative trading in gold and silver futures, "prices have often risen substantially in the following 4-6 weeks."
Latest data showed record-high short betting against silver last week, plus a new 2014 low for speculative traders' net bullish position.
Further ahead, technical analysis from London market-maker Societe Generale highlights what it calls "first hints of price stabilization.
There are "signs of downward momentum ebbing," the bank's chart analysts write in a new Q3 2014 outlook.
Gold prices also now sit "in the vicinity of the decade-long trend lines," they add, showing a logarithmic uptrend linking the metal's low-points of 2001-2008.