x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Gold prices creep above $1,700 mark

Market updates: Bullion prices gained 0.6 per cent to $1,703.75 in early trading, having gained 10.9 per cent since bottoming in mid-May.

Gold prices increased to above the $1,700 mark for the first time since March in early trading today, as the European Central Bank's hints at sovereign bond purchases rekindled interest in the yellow metal.

Bullion prices gained 0.6 per cent to $1,703.75 in early trading, having gained 10.9 per cent since bottoming in mid-May.

Following an interest rate decision due at 3.45pm UAE Time, the European Central Bank is due to hold a press conference today to discuss its plans, widely expected to include the purchase of short-dated eurozone government debt with additional measures to quell inflation.

The euro gained 0.6 per cent against the US dollar in early trading to $1.2623.

Local markets received a boost as fears eased over the effect of the eurozone debt crisis on the region.

The Dubai Financial Market General Index climbed 0.3 per cent to 1,553.91, while the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange General Index increased 0.1 per cent to 2,559.74.

Large-cap stocks including Emaar Properties, Arabtec, First Gulf Bank and Etisalat led the Emirates' markets upwards.

However, Asian markets struggled to join in the rally, with the Nikkei 225 flat at 8,680.57 and the Hang Seng index also unchanged at 19,149.12, with both markets paring earlier gains.

Oil prices slipped slightly, with Brent crude futures down 8 cents at $114.06 per barrel.

ghunter@thenational.ae