Gold flat; platinum, palladium steady on econ outlook

SINGAPORE Mon Jan 14, 2013 8:10am IST

An employee arranges jewellery at a window display in a shop at the Gold Souq in Dubai, January 10, 2013. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

An employee arranges jewellery at a window display in a shop at the Gold Souq in Dubai, January 10, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Ahmed Jadallah

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SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Spot gold traded nearly flat on Monday and platinum group metals extended gains as investors await a string of economic data this week to gauge the health of the world's top economies.

U.S. housing and retail data is likely to show resilience and China's economic growth probably quickened in the last quarter of 2012, underpinning sentiment in industrial metals like plantinum.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Spot gold was little changed at $1,661.74 an ounce by 0057 GMT, after inching up 0.3 percent last week.

* U.S. gold traded nearly flat at $1,662.

* Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the Bank of Japan (BOJ) must set a 2 percent inflation target and make it a medium-term, not long-term, goal to show markets it was determined to pursue bold monetary easing to end nearly two decades of deflation.

* Gold prices will rise 5.1 percent this year, stretching the precious metal's bull run into a thirteenth year, a poll of London Bullion Market Association members predicted on Friday.

* Hedge funds and money managers cut the size of net longs in gold futures and options to a four-month low in the week to January 8 as bullion prices tumbled on concerns the Federal Reserve might withdraw stimulus, data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission showed.

* China's jewellery sector is bottoming, and Hong Kong-listed Chow Tai Fook (1929.HK), the world's biggest jewellery retailer by market value, is set to benefit the most from a rebound due to its vast store network, some analysts say. China's jewellery market is dominated by gold jewellery.

* Spot platinum inched up 0.2 percent to $1,631.76, on course for its fifth session of gains, matching a similar winning streak in mid-November.

* Spot palladium gained half a percent to $700.75, also headed for its fifth day or rise, its longest winning run since early October.

MARKET NEWS

* U.S. stocks ended little changed on Friday as investors took a step back from buying ahead of the busy corporate earnings calendar. .N

* The euro rose to its highest against the dollar since April 2012, extending gains from Friday after European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi set a bullish tone by not giving any indication the bank would ease monetary policy.

(Reporting by Rujun Shen; Editing by Michael Urquhart)

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