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(Kitco News) -Comex gold futures prices are trading steady to slightly higher Monday morning after hitting a fresh five-week low early on. Meantime, silver futures prices are trading moderately lower and also hit a fresh five-week low overnight. The market place is tentative to start the trading week, as Greece's parliament is scheduled to vote later this week on fiscal and austerity programs, amid the European Union debt saga that continues to play out. Some near-term chart damage has been inflicted in the precious metals following Friday's bearish weekly low closes. August gold last traded up $1.70 an ounce at $1,502.70. Spot gold last traded down $0.20 an ounce at $1,502.50. July Comex silver last traded down $0.528 at $34.11 an ounce.

The market place anxiously awaits a Greece parliament vote on fiscal programs Wednesday and then a vote Thursday on implementing austerity measures. While European Union, International Monetary Fund and Greek officials last week agreed upon a rescue plan for Greece, that plan needs to be approved by the Greek parliament. Greek citizens and some parliament members are very unhappy about the austerity issue.  The market place will be closely watching Thursday's vote on implementing austerity programs--not only to see the vote's result, but also to see if the vote is met with protests in the streets. The severity of any protests will be one key factor the market place will be watching. Safe-haven buying interest in gold and silver markets could return in a hurry if any protests in Greece are big and/or violent this week.

The U.S. dollar index is trading slightly lower Monday morning, but did hit a fresh four-week high overnight. Trading has become choppy in the index. The dollar index remains in an overall technically bearish posture, but there are now technical and fundamental clues that the index may have put in a major low. However, just because a market puts in a major low, that does not automatically mean a price uptrend can be sustained.

Crude oil prices are trading slightly lower early Monday. The market place is digesting the surprise move last week by major countries to release a small portion of their strategic oil reserves onto the world market. Crude oil's price plunge below $90.00 a barrel last was a bearish blow to many commodity markets, including gold and silver. Recent price action in crude oil has produced serious near-term chart damage to suggest still some more downside price potential for crude in the near term.

U.S. economic data due for release Monday includes the Chicago midwest manufacturing index, personal income and outlays, and the Texas manufacturing outlook survey.

The London A.M. gold fixing was $1,501.00 versus the previous P.M. fixing of $1,514.75.

Technically, August Comex gold futures prices hit a fresh five-week low overnight and last Friday produced a bearish weekly low close. Some near-term chart damage has occurred as the bulls have faded and need to show fresh power soon, to avoid more serious near-term chart damage. Importantly, gold bulls still have the overall near-term and longer-term technical advantage. Prices are still in a 10-year-old uptrend on the longer-term charts. However, the shorter-term uptrend on the daily charts has at least temporarily been negated. Bulls' next near-term upside technical objective is to produce a close above strong technical resistance at $1,530.00. Bears' next near-term downside price objective is closing prices below solid technical support at the May low of $1,464.10. First resistance is seen at the overnight high of $1,506.10 and then at $1,511.40. First support is seen at the overnight low of $1,491.70 and then at $1,485.00.

July silver futures prices futures prices also hit a fresh five-week low overnight and last Friday also produced a bearish weekly low close. Some fresh near-term chart damage has occurred as the bulls have faded and need to show fresh power soon, to avoid more serious near-term chart damage.  Silver bulls still have the longer-term technical advantage. However, prices are now in a four-week-old downtrend on the daily bar chart. The next downside price breakout objective for the bears is closing prices below solid technical support at the May low of $32.30. Bulls' next upside price objective is producing a close above solid technical resistance at last week's high of $36.77 an ounce. First resistance is seen at the overnight high of $34.33 and then at $34.50. Next support is seen at the overnight low of $33.54 and then at $33.00.

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By Jim Wyckoff of Kitco News; jwyckoff@kitco.com

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