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gold $500 soon

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    September 23, 2003 21:46

    Gold Prices Rise, Fuel Proclamations at Denver Gold Forum Symposium
    By Steve Raabe, The Denver Post
    Sep. 23--Gold prices rose Monday to a seven-year high, fueling bullish proclamations at the Denver Gold Forum investment symposium.

    Gold futures that hit $388 an ounce Monday could be headed as high as $500 within the next year, speculated Martin Murenbeeld, a Victoria, British Columbia-based gold analyst and keynote speaker at the Denver forum.

    Monday's market surge occurred as the dollar fell against the euro and yen -- a phenomenon that has propelled gold over the past three years and which may continue boosting the precious metal, Murenbeeld said.

    "The significance of the U.S. dollar to gold is well-established," he said. "All things equal, a weaker dollar is positive for the price of gold." Gold's 20 percent rally in the past year has been fueled partly by a 15 percent slump in the dollar against the euro, which made the dollar-priced metal cheaper for European buyers.

    The dollar on Monday fell to a two-month low against the euro and to its lowest against yen since December 2000 after a call last week by international finance ministers for less government intervention on exchange rates.

    Gold prices will continue to benefit from the weak dollar, among other factors, Murenbeeld said, such as low interest rates and growing U.S. debt. Gold historically has been considered a hedge against higher inflation, which could be forecast by the falling dollar and low interest rates.

    "There's a great potential that over the next few months we could break $400 (an ounce), and it's very likely you could hit $500 at some point next year," he said.

    The surging gold market prompted Murenbeeld to joke that his conference forecast of higher prices was a foregone conclusion.

    "Obviously I'm bullish," he said. "Nobody ever asks me to speak if I'm not." In light of the weekend comments from the Group of Seven finance ministers, "the word is there's going to be a weaker U.S. dollar going forward; that has to be positive for gold," Ian Cockerill, chief executive of Gold Fields Ltd., the world's fourth-largest gold producer said at the Denver gold conference.

    "We still are going to see a lot more legs" in gold's rally, he said.

    Bloomberg News contributed to this report.

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