An increase in margin requirements to trade gold futures has done little to take the steam out of the metals rally as gold exchange traded funds were marching higher again Tuesday.

Gold declined earlier this month when the Chicago Mercantile Exchange raised margin requirements on gold contracts by 22% as prices touched $1,800 an ounce. [How Will Margin Hike Impact Gold ETFs?]

Gold has benefited from continued low interest rates in the U.S. and debt turmoil in Europe. Fitch Ratings on Tuesday affirmed its triple-A credit rating on U.S. debt.

“The U.S. Fed pledged to keep official rates at rock-bottom levels until 2013, the European Central Bank stepped in to purchase Italian and Spanish bonds and the Swiss and Japanese central banks intervened to weaken their currencies,” ETF Securities said in a report this week. “Short selling equity bans were introduced in France, Spain, Italy and Belgium after shares in European banking giant Societe Generale slumped back to credit crisis levels last week.”

An ETF that invests in Germany fell more than 2% in early U.S. trading Tuesday after the country reported lackluster economic growth for the second quarter. [Germany ETF Down After Weak GDP]

“German chancellor Merkel and French president Sarkozy meet today to discuss European governance as the contentious issue of creating jointly sold ‘Eurobonds’ gathers momentum,” wrote ETF Securities analysts Daniel Wills and Nicholas Brooks in the precious metals weekly update. “Private sector appetite for European sovereign debt remains extremely weak, with market speculation that France’s AAA rating could come under threat last week as investors begin to increasingly question debt servicing capabilities of the larger European economies.”

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