By Clara Denina
Gold's sharp gains on uncertainty over Britain's European Union membership are likely to come to an end, regardless of whether Britons vote to leave or remain in Thursday's referendum. Prices XAU= hit their highest since August 2014 last week as the $5-trillion a year gold market rose with other "safe" assets, such as German bunds, the Swiss franc and Japan's yen.
Recent polls suggest an even split and although investors are worried about the economic and market fallout of a "Brexit", bullion's uncertainty premium is not expected to last. An "In" vote is seen as quickly unwinding gold's five percent gain in June, as appetite for risk rises and focus returns to the U.S. economy, analysts and fund managers say.
"A clear win for the Remain side will see U.S. yields rise as the potential drag on the global economy and risk appetite is removed," said ICBC Standard Bank analyst Thomas Kendall. "Gold in dollars would likely drop four to five percent," Kendall added. The metal is negatively correlated to rising U.S. real yields because the opportunity cost of holding it increases.
And while some see a "Leave" result as a risk-off event that could see gold rally, others see lower prices if the dollar rises and oil falls. Gold is often seen as a hedge against rising inflation. "If investors become overly worried, it is likely that...