By Ian Campbell
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) – Gold, it seems, can have it both ways. Its latest charge to a three-month high is ascribed both to relief at a Greek bailout and to fear it won’t work. The bubbling precious metal has become simultaneously a speculative, risk-on play and a safe haven. That duality should keep the gold bull alive for a little while yet.
The golden beast is showing signs of fatigue. A three-month high leaves it 8 percent down on its September peak. Demand for gold rose in 2011 — but by just 0.4 percent on 2010. Ultra-high prices are weighing down jewellery consumption. India, traditionally the largest consumer of gold for jewellery, imported 44 percent less gold in the fourth quarter of 2011 than a year earlier as the rupee plunged. China overtook India as the biggest gold importer, but its demand was up a meagre 3 percent year-on-year.
VIENNA/TEHRAN (Reuters) – The U.N. nuclear watchdog’s latest mission to Iran failed to budge a defiant Tehran over its disputed nuclear program, sending oil prices to a nine-month high over fears of an increasing risk of confrontation with the West.
The United States criticized Iran on Wednesday over the collapse of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s talks in Tehran, saying it again showed the Islamic Republic’s refusal to abide by international obligations over its nuclear program.
VIENNA/TEHRAN (Reuters) – The U.N. nuclear watchdog ended its latest mission to Iran after talks on Tehran’s suspected secret atomic weapons research failed, a setback likely to increase the risk of confrontation with the West.
The United States criticized Iran on Wednesday over the failure of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s latest mission, saying it again showed Tehran’s refusal to abide by its international obligations over its nuclear programme.
VIENNA (Reuters) – The U.N. nuclear watchdog said on Wednesday it had failed to secure an agreement with Iran during two days of talks over disputed atomic activities and that the Islamic Republic had rejected a request to visit a key military site.
In the second such trip in less than a month, a senior team from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had travelled to Tehran to press Iranian officials to start addressing mounting concerns that the Islamic Republic may be seeking to develop nuclear weapons.
VIENNA (Reuters) – U.N. nuclear inspectors headed to Iran on Sunday for talks aimed at getting Tehran to start addressing their mounting concerns that it may be seeking to develop atomic bombs.
“We hope to have a couple of good and constructive days in Tehran,” Herman Nackaerts, deputy director general of the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said at Vienna airport as the five-member team prepared to depart.
By Ian Campbell
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.
The euro zone’s fourth-quarter numbers conjure images of an arduous pan-European cycling race. France and Germany are pulling away from the pack, while the countries of the periphery are bunched together, wobbling and falling further behind. Fiscal cuts are sapping the periphery’s speed. The question is whether their competitiveness is improving. Labour cost and trade figures don’t suggest it is – at least not yet.
VIENNA (Reuters) – The United Nations chief urged Iran Friday to implement Security Council resolutions under which Tehran should curb sensitive nuclear activity, but the Islamic state once again signaled it has no intention of doing so.
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also said Iran must cooperate fully with the U.N. atomic watchdog, which will send a senior team to Tehran next week to seek explanations for a trove of intelligence suggesting Iran has tried to design atomic bombs.
VIENNA (Reuters) – Iran, facing sanctions that could cripple its oil exports, has told world powers it wants to resume long-stalled talks with “new initiatives,” and France said it might be open to addressing suspicions about its nuclear program.
Tehran made the offer in a letter to the EU’s foreign policy chief obtained by Reuters Thursday, a day after it trumpeted several advances in nuclear know-how and sent oil prices upward.
VIENNA (Reuters) – Iran, facing harsher sanctions targeting its economically vital oil exports, has told world powers it wants to resume long-frozen talks soon but left vague whether it is ready to address concerns about its nuclear activity, as they insist.
Tehran made the offer in a letter to the EU’s foreign policy chief obtained by Reuters on Thursday, a day after it trumpeted several advances in nuclear know-how and sent oil prices upward with suggestions of economic reprisal in what may have been moves to boost its leverage before any fresh negotiations.
VIENNA (Reuters) – Iran has proposed a resumption of long-stalled nuclear talks with world powers in which Tehran would have “new initiatives”, according to a letter from Tehran to European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton obtained by Reuters on Thursday.
The brief letter, which offered no specific proposals in the nuclear dispute, may not convince Western states that Iran is ready to enter the kind of substantive negotiations tackling its nuclear work they say is needed to resolve the longstanding row.