PRECIOUS-Gold up, volume thin on uncertainty over cenbanks

Tue Aug 7, 2012 1:38am IST

* Bullion investors uncertain over central bank stimulus
    * Daily volume in U.S. gold set to be one of year's lowest
    * Platinum maintains more than $200/oz discount to gold
    * Coming up: U.S. consumer credit data on Tuesday

 (Adds details throughout, updates comment; changes byline,
dateline, previously LONDON)
    By Frank Tang
    NEW YORK, Aug 6 (Reuters) - Gold rose on Monday on gains in
U.S. equities and crude oil, but daily volume looked set to be
one of this year's lowest, reflecting bullion investors' fickle
sentiment toward further monetary easing by central banks.
    The metal extended gains from last Friday, when data showing
a rising U.S. unemployment rate fed investor hopes for more
aggressive stimulus by the Federal Reserve. Short-covering also
helped prices to rebound from last week's weekly drop.
    Trading volume in U.S. gold futures, however, was poised to
finish at less than half its 30-day average, as some investors
questioned whether central banks would come through with more
gold-supportive monetary action. 
    "The market is not committed to this move in gold, which is
carried forward from last Friday. Gold has been stuck in the
middle of the range, waiting for a new impetus to push it
through to higher levels," said Frank McGhee, head precious
metals trader at Integrated Brokerage Services LLC.
    Spot gold was up 0.6 percent at $1,612.56 an ounce by
3 p.m. EDT (1900 GMT).
    U.S. gold futures for December delivery settled up
$6.90 an ounce at $1,616.20.
    Volume was at around 77,000 lots by 3 p.m., versus its
30-day average of about 169,000 lots, preliminary Reuters data
showed.
    A combination of gains in crude oil futures, the euro and
U.S. equities also lifted gold prices.
    Year-to-date, gold is up 3 percent.
     
     
    Gold prices have been stuck in a $150 trading range between
$1,675 and $1,525 an ounce in the past three months, as a lack
of firm commitment by central banks to stimulate failed to
attract new buying.
    Speculation that the Fed may have to unleash another round
of quantitative easing, or printing money to buy bonds to keep
interest rates low, has firmly underpinned gold prices for the
last several years.
    Despite improved U.S. hiring last month, most Wall Street
economists still expect the Fed to launch another round of
monetary stimulus this year, with the majority forecasting
action as soon as September. 
    
    SHIPMENTS TO CHINA DOWN, ETF GAINS
    Physical and investment gold demand was mixed.
    Gold shipments from Hong Kong to mainland China, which is
challenging India to become the world's biggest gold market,
fell 10 percent in June from the previous month. 
    Inflows into gold-backed exchange-traded funds also picked
up after a soft July, with data from the largest showing its
holdings up 3 tonnes so far this month. 
    Among other precious metals, silver was up 0.7
percent at $27.95 an ounce, while spot platinum edged up
0.1 percent at $1,398.24 an ounce and spot palladium rose
1.4 percent to $575 an ounce.
    Gold maintained its premium over platinum at above $200 an
ounce on Monday, a level it surpassed last week for the first
time since early January.
 3:00 PM EDT     LAST/    NET   PCT      LOW    HIGH  CURRENT
                SETTLE   CHNG  CHNG                       VOL
 US Gold DEC   1616.20   6.90   0.4  1605.30 1618.40   70,856
 US Silver SEP  27.863  0.062   0.2   27.565  27.950   19,448
 US Plat OCT   1401.90 -12.50  -0.9  1390.10 1410.00    5,296
 US Pall SEP    579.55   1.35   0.2   573.70  582.10    1,342
                                                               
 Gold          1612.56   9.56   0.6  1603.20 1615.00         
 Silver         27.950  0.200   0.7   27.630  28.000
 Platinum      1398.24   1.04   0.1  1396.00 1403.50
 Palladium      575.00   8.00   1.4   576.75  579.97
                                                               
 TOTAL MARKET              VOLUME          30-D ATM VOLATILITY
                CURRENT   30D AVG  250D AVG   CURRENT     CHG
 US Gold         76,546   168,707   192,751      17.5    0.53
 US Silver       20,610    49,544    57,456     24.96   -1.98
 US Platinum      5,630     9,382     8,977        23    0.00
 US Palladium     1,674     3,041     4,348                  
                                                               
 

 (Additional reporting by Jan Harvey in London; Editing by Dale
Hudson)
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