Thu Sep 19, 2013 4:42pm EDT
* Hopes of low U.S. interest rates, no Fed taper boost gold
* Short-covering helps drive gold's rally after Fed
* Gold seen bottoming on charts
* Coming up: CFTC Commitments of Traders report Friday
(Adds trader comment, technical analysis, second byline,
By Frank Tang and Clara Denina
NEW YORK/LONDON, Sept 19 (Reuters) - Gold rose to one-week
highs on Thursday, extending the previous session's 4.2 percent
rally, lifted by technical buying and short-covering a day after
the U.S. Federal Reserve's unexpected decision to continue
On Wednesday, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke did not commit to
reducing the bond purchases this year, and instead went out of
his way to stress the program was "not on a preset course." In
June he had said the Fed expected to cut back before year end.
"The expectation of no Fed tapering and low interest rates
for the rest of the year is a big plus for gold," said Bill
O'Neill, partner of commodities investment firm LOGIC Advisors.
Spot gold hit its highest level since Sept. 10 at
$1,374.54. It last traded at $1,368.46 an ounce, up 0.3 percent
by 3:41 p.m. EDT (1941 GMT).
U.S. gold futures for December delivery settled up
$61.70 at $1,369.30, with trading volume at about 15 percent
above its 30-day average, preliminary Reuters data showed.
Total open interest in Comex gold futures fell 701 to
383,891 lots on Wednesday, suggesting the post-Fed rally was
driven by investors who bought back previously bearish bets,
Gold, often seen as an inflation hedge and safe-haven
investment, has outperformed U.S. equities and other assets
since the Fed announcement. Many economists expected a $10
billion reduction in the central bank's $85 billion monthly bond
Gold has lost some 18 percent of its value this year after
the Fed signalled it would start reining in its monetary
stimulus, which could indicate the end to ultra-loose monetary
TECHNICAL OUTLOOK IMPROVING
On charts, gold's rally left it some $20 above its 100-day
moving average, a key technical support.
Gold could rally to its 200-day moving average near $1,475
an ounce, as Wednesday's rise signalled a bullish trend reversal
after bullion broke below a upward trendline connecting its lows
on June 28 and Aug. 7, said Rick Bensignor, head of trading
strategy at Wells Fargo.
Another analyst said bullion could be near its lows after
"The shorter-term moving averages have started rising,
suggesting gold is in the process of bottoming," said Adam
Sarhan, chief executive of Sarhan Capital.
Analysts say they are watching for signs that the Fed's
announcement is boosting inflows into gold-backed
exchange-traded funds, as such moves will signal rekindled fund
interest in gold as a hedge.
Among other precious metals, silver rose 1.2 percent
to $23.15 an ounce, having rallied around 6.5 percent on
Wednesday, its biggest one-day gain since November 2008.
Platinum was down 0.3 percent at $1,458.80, while
palladium rose 1.9 percent to $730.59 an ounce.