Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Trading Spot Gold and Silver

Much like trading currency pairs, spot metals enables traders to take a long or short position in gold (XAU/USD) or silver (XAG/USD) while simultaneously taking the opposite position in the U.S. dollar or other major currencies.

Spot gold and silver trades globally in an over-the-counter market, and prices float freely based on supply and demand. The spot price is the price quoted for the metal to be paid for (including delivery) two days following the date of the actual transaction (also known as the settlement date).

Spot gold and silver trades a lot like currency pairs in the foreign exchange market. Trading is available 24 hours a day from Sunday at 6:00 pm ET to Friday at 5:00 pm ET. There is no central market however, the main centers for trading spot gold and silver are London, New York, and Zurich. Liquidity is typically highest when European market hours overlap with trading in New York - roughly four hours a day during the morning for U.S. traders. There may be some illiquid periods for trading spot gold and silver around the close of the US market (5pm ET to 6 pm ET). There is a twice-daily fix for gold and a daily fix for silver in London that helps set reference points for intraday prices. Settlement is very similar to forex settlements.

Who trades spot gold and silver, and why?

There are many different reasons that drive investors to trade spot gold and silver:

* Speculation on the price based on the use of fundamental and or technical analysis

* Creating a balanced, diversified asset allocation model for an overall investment portfolio

* Applying risk management as a hedge against market volatility and financial crises caused by
economic, political or social turmoil.

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