PRECIOUS-Gold edges up as euro holds firm before ECB meeting

Tue Jan 8, 2013 6:20am IST

SINGAPORE, Jan 8 (Reuters) - Gold inched up on Tuesday as
the euro held on to two days of gains on expectations the
European Central Bank will refrain from cutting interest rates
at a meeting this week, while concerns over the duration of U.S.
stimulus measures weighed.
        
    FUNDAMENTALS
    * Spot gold had climbed 0.2 percent to $1,650.36 an
ounce by 0026 GMT.
    * U.S. gold was up 0.3 percent at $1,650.80.
    * The ECB will keep interest rates unchanged at its Thursday
meeting, economists forecast in a Reuters poll, but they cannot
agree on the chances of a cut in the next few months due to a
murky economic outlook. 
    * Euro zone sentiment improved for a fifth consecutive month
in January, with investors' expectations rising to their highest
level in almost two years after a successful Greek bond buyback
and a dip in Spanish jobless figures. 
    * A weaker U.S. dollar makes commodities denominated in the
greenback more attractive to holders of other currencies.
    * Top U.S. Federal Reserve officials on Friday suggested the
central bank may halt its bullion-friendly asset purchases by
the end of 2013 due to a better economic outlook.
 
    * Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world's biggest
gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell about two tonnes to
1,340.74 tonnes on Jan. 7, down about 10 tonnes, or 0.7 percent,
from the end of 2012.  
    * South Africa's Harmony Gold, the country's
third-largest gold producer, said its Kusasalethu mine remained
closed and could be shut permanently with the loss of around
6,000 jobs after managers received death threats and police were
shot at. 
    * Spot palladium edged up 0.2 percent to $669.47, off
a more than one-month low of $661.97 hit in the previous
session.
    * For the top stories on metals and other news, click
, or 
    
    MARKET NEWS
    * U.S. stocks lost ground on Monday, as investors drew back
from recent gains that lifted the S&P 500 to a five-year high,
in anticipation of sluggish growth in corporate profits. 
    * The euro traded steady against the dollar on Tuesday,
after rising for two straight sessions. 
    
    DATA/EVENTS
 1000  EZ      Business climate            Dec 2012               
 1000  EZ      Economic sentiment          Dec 2012              
 1245  U.S.    ICSC chain stores yy        Weekly                 
    
    PRICES
    Precious metals prices 0026 GMT
  Metal             Last    Change  Pct chg  YTD pct chg    Volume
  Spot Gold        1650.36    3.72   +0.23     -1.44
  Spot Silver        30.22    0.10   +0.33     -0.20
  Spot Platinum    1553.74    1.75   +0.11      1.22
  Spot Palladium    669.47    1.47   +0.22     -3.26
  COMEX GOLD FEB3  1650.80    4.50   +0.27     -1.49         4296
  COMEX SILVER MAR3  30.23    0.15   +0.49      0.00         1421
  Euro/Dollar       1.3119
  Dollar/Yen         87.41
  COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months
  

 (Editing by Joseph Radford)
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