PRECIOUS-Gold ekes out gains as U.S. data weighs on dollar

Mon Aug 6, 2012 12:24pm IST

* Dollar index hits one-month low, helping gold
    * Spot gold technical signals mixed 
    * Coming up: euro zone Sentix index, August; 0830 GMT

 (Adds comments; updates prices)
    By Rujun Shen
    SINGAPORE, Aug 6 (Reuters) - Gold inched higher on Monday,
extending gains from the previous session after
better-than-expected U.S. employment data lent support to risk
appetite, weighing on the dollar.
    The dollar fell to a one-month low against a basket of
currencies, helping gold to gain slightly, although the
overall sentiment for bullion remained mixed amid a lack of
clarity on the macroeconomic policy front.
    U.S. employers hired the most workers in five months in
July, but an increase in the jobless rate to 8.3 percent kept
the prospect of further monetary stimulus from the Federal
Reserve on the table. 
    "Market participants are now betting on Fed action at next
month's FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) meeting as the
unemployment rate ticked up, even though the payrolls figure
beat expectations," said Chen Min, an analyst at Jinrui Futures
in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen.
    Spot gold inched up 0.2 percent to $1,605.99 per
ounce by 0646 GMT, extending the previous session's 0.9 percent
rise.
    The U.S. gold futures contract for December delivery 
was little changed at $1,609.40.
    
    Debt-laden euro zone nations will be in focus this week,
after both the European Central Bank and the Fed disappointed
investors by remaining ambiguous on plans for further stimulus
measures.
    Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy inched closer on Friday
to asking for an EU bailout for his country, but said he needed
first to know what conditions would be attached and what form
the rescue would take. 
    "The ECB is unlikely to make a bold move this week, and
we'll see gold settle in the wait-and-see game again," said Chen
of Jinrui Futures.
    Hedge funds and money managers raised their net long
positions in U.S. gold and silver futures and options by 35
percent in the week to July 31, as price gains based on
speculation of more Federal Reserve stimulus prompted
speculators to boost their bullish bets. 
    Gold shipments from Hong Kong to mainland China fell 10
percent in June from the previous month to just below 68 tonnes,
while gold flow from China to Hong Kong declined 9 percent to
about 27 tonnes, Hong Kong's official trade data showed.
 
    
   Precious metals prices 0646 GMT
  Metal             Last    Change  Pct chg  YTD pct chg    Volume
  Spot Gold        1605.99    2.99   +0.19      2.70
  Spot Silver        27.72   -0.03   -0.11      0.11
  Spot Platinum    1401.49    4.29   +0.31      0.61
  Spot Palladium    575.97    8.97   +1.58    -11.73
  COMEX GOLD DEC2  1609.40    0.10   +0.01      2.72         8321
  COMEX SILVER SEP2  27.66   -0.14   -0.51     -0.91         2458
  Euro/Dollar       1.2374
  Dollar/Yen         78.39
  COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months   
 
 (Editing by Miral Fahmy)
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