WASHINGTON (Alliance News) - Gold futures ended higher for a fifth straight session Tuesday, on its safe haven appeal boosted by geopolitical tensions amid fears of Iraq getting caught in a full-fledged sectarian conflict.
Latest reports indicate heavy fighting for the control of Iraq's largest oil refinery in Baiji with officials refuting claims that militants have taken over the refinery, even as the insurgents have taken control of other territories in the country's north and west regions.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State John Kerry says Iraqi leaders have agreed to form a new government by July 1, as the Nouri al-Maliki regime looks to quell the uprising.
With its safe haven appeal boosted by geopolitical tensions, US Gold for August was up USD6 at USD1,324 an ounce, its highest since mid-April.
Gold for August delivery, the most actively traded contract, gained USD2.90 or 0.2% to close at USD1,321.30 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange on Tuesday.
Gold for August delivery scaled an intraday high of USD1,326.60 and a low of USD1,314.50 an ounce.
On Monday, gold futures ended higher for a straight session in a row with investors focused on the Iraq imbroglio with Secretary of State John Kerry in Iraq for discussions with local leaders to stem the Sunni militants push toward Baghdad.
Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, edged down to 785.02 tons from its previous close of 782.62 tons.
The dollar index, which tracks the US unit against six major currencies, traded at 80.39 on Tuesday, up from its previous close of 80.27 late Monday in North American trade. The dollar scaled a high of 80.43 intraday and a low of 80.19.
The euro traded lower against the dollar at USD1.3595 on Tuesday, as compared to its previous close of USD1.3604 late Monday in North American trade. The euro scaled a high of USD1.3627 intraday and a low of USD1.3584.
In economic news from the US, data from the Commerce Department showed new home sales to have surged up by a more than expected 18.6% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 504,000 in May from the revised April rate of 425,000. Economists expected sales to climb to a rate of 440,000 from the 433,000 originally reported for the previous month.
Meanwhile, the Conference Board's report showed US consumer confidence to have risen to a more than expected 85.2 in June, its highest level since January 2008, from a revised 82.2 in May. Economists expected the index to edge up to 83.5 from the 83.0 originally reported for the previous month.
A Standard & Poor's report on Tuesday showed the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Home Price Index to have increased at an annual rate of 10.8% in April compared to the 12.4% growth reported for March. Economists expected the pace of year-over-year growth in prices to show a more modest slowdown to an annual rate of 11.5%.
In economic news from Europe, business confidence in Germany deteriorated for the second straight month in June, with a reading on business sentiment declining to a six-month low of 109.7, from 110.4 in May. Economists had forecast the index to drop marginally to 110.3.
A leading economic index for China continued to expand in May, albeit at a slower pace, a survey by the Conference Board revealed on Tuesday. The leading economic index was up 0.7% in May to a score of 290.2. That follows 1.0% increases in both April and March.