PRECIOUS-Gold hovers below 1-week high; US data, Fed support

Thu Jan 31, 2013 6:20am IST

SINGAPORE, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Gold was little changed on
Thursday, hovering below a one-week top hit in the previous
session when data showing a surprise contraction in the U.S.
economy and the Federal Reserve's decision to continue its
bond-buying plan supported bullion.
        
    FUNDAMENTALS
    * Spot gold was nearly flat at $1,677.44 an ounce by
0032 GMT, off a near one-week high of $1,683.39 in the previous
session.
    * U.S. gold inched down 0.2 percent to $1,677.10.
    * The U.S. economy unexpectedly contracted in the fourth
quarter, but analysts said there was no reason for panic given
that consumer spending and business investment picked up. 
    * The Federal Reserve on Wednesday left in place its monthly
$85 billion bond-buying stimulus plan, arguing the support was
needed to lower unemployment even as it indicated a recent stall
in U.S. economic growth was likely temporary. 
    * Friday's U.S. nonfarm payrolls data is in focus. Hiring by
U.S. employers likely held steady in January, pointing to modest
growth in the economy despite worries that budget battles in
Washington could derail the recovery. 
    * India's government does not currently plan additional
taxes or curbs on imports of gold as it waits to see the impact
of recent tax hikes, a top finance ministry official told
Reuters on Wednesday. 
    * Commodities have decisively broken their lock-step with
other assets, which lasted from 2008 to 2012, and now lower
volatility and an expected end to central bank money printing
could ensure the correlation does not return. 
    * For the top stories on metals and other news, click
, or 
    
    MARKET NEWS
    * U.S. stocks fell on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve
said in its latest statement that economic growth had stalled
but indicated the pullback was likely temporary. 
    * The euro held near a 14-month peak against the dollar and
a 2-1/2 year high versus the yen on Thursday, having risen
solidly as investors expect central banks in both the United
States and Japan to keep an aggressive easing stance. 
    
    DATA/EVENTS (GMT)
 0500 Japan    Construction orders                           
 0500 Japan    Housing starts                                
 0700 Germany  Retail sales                                  
 0745 France   Producer prices                               
 0855 Germany  Unemployment rate                             
 1300 Germany  Preliminary CPI                               
 1330 U.S.     Weekly jobless claims                         
 1330 U.S.     Personal income                               
 1445 U.S.     Chicago PMI                                   
           
    PRICES   
 Precious metals prices 0032 GMT
  Metal             Last    Change  Pct chg  YTD pct chg    Volume
  Spot Gold        1677.44    0.74   +0.04      0.17
  Spot Silver        32.04    0.02   +0.06      5.81
  Spot Platinum    1681.74   -0.50   -0.03      9.56
  Spot Palladium    746.47   -0.28   -0.04      7.87
  COMEX GOLD FEB3  1677.10   -2.80   -0.17      0.08          185
  COMEX SILVER MAR3  32.06   -0.12   -0.36      6.05          575
  Euro/Dollar       1.3570
  Dollar/Yen         91.05
  COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months  
 
 (Reporting by Rujun Shen; Editing by Himani Sarkar)
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