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    Gold Closes Above $450, an 8-Month High, on Inflation Concerns
    Aug. 11 (Bloomberg) -- Gold closed above $450 an ounce for the first time in eight months in New York as energy prices climbed to a record, increasing the precious metal's appeal as a hedge against inflation.

    Gold futures for December delivery surged $8.9, or 2 percent, to $450.90 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. The percentage gain was the biggest since July 7, 2004. Prices rose $2.20 yesterday. PLEASE DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH

    Crude oil reached $66 a barrel after the International Energy Agency reduced its estimate of output by Russia and other producers outside the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. Some investors buy gold in times of inflation, which erodes the value of fixed-income assets such as bonds.

    ``As time goes on, and oil sticks around at these prices, that will feed into the economy,'' said Patrick Chidley, an analyst in New York with South Africa-based brokerage Barnard Jacobs Mellet LLC. ``And that feeds into gold.''

    A futures contract is an obligation to sell or buy a commodity at a set price by a specific date.

    The IEA cut its non-OPEC supply forecast by about 200,000 barrels a day, prompted by shutdowns in the Gulf of Mexico and the North Sea. Production will grow at a slower pace than was predicted a month ago. Oil prices have doubled since the end of 2003. Gold has gained 13 percent in the past 12 months.

    Gold reached a 16-year high of $458.70 an ounce on Dec. 2 as U.S. consumer prices rose 3.3 percent in 2004, the most in four years. Futures surged to $873 in 1980, when U.S. consumer prices rose more than 12 percent from the previous year.

    Dollar Declines

    Gold prices also rose today as the dollar dropped to a 10- week low against euro and fell to the weakest since June versus the yen. The dollar declined after U.S. retail sales in July increased 1.8 percent last month, less than the 2.1 percent gain economists estimated in a Bloomberg survey.

    ``The euro seems to be making a bit of a recovery,'' said Robert Cameron, a precious-metals trader in New York at Mitsubishi International Corp., a unit of Japan's largest trading company. ``Gold is following it.''

    Gold climbed above its 100- and 200-day moving averages, triggering further buying. The moving averages are watched by traders who follow historic price patterns, Cameron said. Gold's current 200-day moving average is $430.91 an ounce.

    A gold strike in South Africa ended as the country's three largest labor unions agreed to a wage increase of 6 percent to 7 percent this year, the Chamber of Mines said.

    The five-day strike shut down mines owned by AngloGold Ashanti Ltd., Harmony Gold Mining Co., Gold Fields Ltd. and Placer Dome Inc. The companies lost a combined 130 million rand ($20 million) a day in revenue, the Chamber of Mines said.

    South Africa produces about one-sixth of the world's gold. Gold production in South Africa last year fell 8.8 percent to 342.7 metric tons, the lowest since 1931, as the rand strengthened against the dollar.





 
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