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(Kitco News) - Comex gold and silver futures prices are trading higher Monday morning on more safe-haven investment demand amid the debt crises playing out in Europe and the U.S. The debt problems on both sides of the ocean have rattled most of the world's currency markets, and gold is now standing out as the "currency" of the world, in many investors' eyes. August gold last traded down up $12.30 at $1,602.40 an ounce. Spot gold last traded up $7.20 an ounce at $1,601.75. December Comex silver last traded up $1.274 at $40.365 an ounce.

There is still keen trader and investor nervousness on the European Union sovereign debt front and on the U.S. debt-ceiling debate. Despite efforts on both sides of the Atlantic to resolve or control those situations, the market place on Monday morning is still viewing the matters with anxiety. European banks' stress test results on Friday were about as expected but have failed to assuage traders and investors. The U.S. congress and the president are still at loggerheads over raising the U.S. debt ceiling that will be hit in early August. Such has invited still more buying demand for the precious metals markets.

The U.S. dollar index is trading higher Monday morning, as it is also seeing safe-haven buying interest on the idea that the U.S. currency is the lesser of evils in the currency markets. Recent price action in the dollar index suggests the index will trade choppy and trendless in the near term. Any further weakening of the dollar index would be a bullish development for the precious metals.

Crude oil prices are trading slightly lower Monday. Fears that a world economic slowdown is in progress amid the EU debt crisis have been a bearish weight on the crude oil market recently. Recent choppy and sideways price action in the crude oil market suggests more of the same in the near term.

U.S. economic data due for release Monday is light and includes Treasury international capital data and the NAHB housing market index.

The London A.M. gold fixing was $1,598.25 versus the previous P.M. fixing of $1,587.00.

Technically, August Comex gold futures bulls have strong upside near-term technical momentum and gained more on Monday. There are no early technical clues to suggest a market top is in place for gold, and at present the path of least resistance for prices remains sideways to higher until near-term technicals suggest otherwise. Bulls' next near-term upside technical objective is to produce a close above technical resistance at $1,625.00. Bears' next near-term downside price objective is closing prices below solid technical support at the June high of $1,559.30. First resistance is seen at the overnight record high of $1,603.80 and then at $1,610.00. First support is seen at the overnight low of $1,591.40 and then at $1,580.00.

December silver futures bulls have the solid overall near-term and longer-term technical advantage and gained more power Monday. With prices Monday pushing above what was major psychological resistance at $40.00, bulls are flexing their muscles. Bulls' next upside price objective is producing a close above solid technical resistance at $42.50 an ounce. The next downside price breakout objective for the bears is closing prices below solid technical support at $38.00. First resistance is seen at the overnight high of $40.48 and then at $41.00. Next support is seen at $40.00 and then at $39.40.

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

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