Gold near four-month low, U.S. budget talks watched

SINGAPORE Fri Dec 21, 2012 7:28am IST

A couple looks into a shop window of a jeweller in the city centre of Frankfurt December 18, 2012. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner

A couple looks into a shop window of a jeweller in the city centre of Frankfurt December 18, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Lisi Niesner

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SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Gold regained some footing on Friday as the euro stayed near an eight-month high against the dollar and talks to avoid a fiscal crisis in the United States seemed to stall again, but the metal was still on track for its fourth weekly fall.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Gold was little changed at $1,647.06 an ounce by 0045 GMT after falling to its weakest level since August in the previous session on heavy liquidation by hedge funds and signs of an improving U.S. economy.

* U.S. gold for February rose $2.30 an ounce to $1,648.20.

* The U.S. House of Representatives abruptly recessed on Thursday amid uncertainty whether Republicans had the votes needed to pass a "fiscal cliff" tax plan offered by Speaker John Boehner.

* Iraq made its first major move in years to bolster its gold reserves in recent months, while Brazil increased its holdings of bullion by almost a third in November, data from the International Monetary Fund showed on Thursday.

MARKET NEWS

* Despite the euro zone's own debt problems, the euro was on track to end the year some 2 percent higher against the greenback. It was at $1.3251, near an eight-month high around $1.3309 set this week.

* Japan's Nikkei share average rose on Friday and may test a nine-month high after Wall Street stocks climbed on hopes for progress in U.S. fiscal talks, with exporters gaining on a weaker yen. .T

* U.S. crude stayed above $90 a barrel after five days of gains, though prices pulled back a touch on caution over U.S. budget talks as Republicans in the U.S. Congress pushed ahead with a plan that stands no chance of becoming law.

(Reporting by Lewa Pardomuan; Editing by Eric Meijer)

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