Gold is flat against the dollar but remains just less than 1% from the record nominal high reached yesterday ($1,628.05/oz).  The euro is under pressure again today and gold is 0.7% higher against the euro and is just less than 1.5% away from the record euro high of EUR 1,144.80/oz reached last Monday.

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Cross Currency Rates

Early gains in Europe saw gold fix at USD 1617.50/oz in London prior to a bout of selling saw gold fall and then rise again. Volatility has increased but remains low compared to levels seen in the late 1970s. 

European indices followed Asian indices lower (Nikkei -1.45%, Sensex -1.03%, Shanghai -1.01%, Hang Seng +0.3%, STI -0.49%) and the FTSE is down 0.73%. The Italian MIB is down 1.2% and the DAX 1.66%.  

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Investors were made nervous by comments from chemicals major BASF, which said it saw global economic growth slowing as it posted weaker-than-expected earnings, sending its stock down 4.9%.

Siemens AG, Europe's largest engineering conglomerate, warned that global economic risks were increasing and posted below forecast results. Its shares fell 1.3%.

As per yesterday, Spanish and particularly Italian bonds are under pressure today with the Spanish 10 year rising to 6.06% and the Italian 10 year rising to 5.94%.

One-year CDS (credit default swap) prices on U.S. debt have moved above five-year CDS prices, signaling that the risk of financial contagion remains real.

Europe's STOXX bank index has lost about 25 percent since mid-February suggesting jitters regarding the possibility of a second phase to the banking crisis.

The Dow to Gold Ratio has again turned down suggesting gold may continue to outperform U.S. stocks and the DJIA, in particular, in the coming weeks. The long term target of below 2:1 remains viable.

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Dow-to-Gold Ratio: Financial Assets vs. Hard Assets

Separately, JP Morgan (JPM) have  forecast gold to rise to $1,800/oz by year end on continued strong retail and official demand. and lower scrap supply.