August 13, 2012 / 10:43 AM / in 5 years

PRECIOUS-Gold down on doubts over central banks' stimulus

* Doubts over more central-bank actions trigger selling
    * Losses in U.S. equities, commodities weigh
    * Gold-platinum premium near all-time high at around $230
    * Coming up: U.S. retail sales on Tuesday

 (Adds details, updates market activity)
    By Frank Tang
    NEW YORK, Aug 13 (Reuters) - Gold fell on Monday as
lingering uncertainty about whether central banks will take
further steps to boost their economies prompted investors to
take profits after the previous week's gain.
    The metal, a traditional inflation hedge, fell after data
showed Japan's economy expanded just 0.3 percent in April-June,
half the pace expected, raising doubts about the strength of a
global economic recovery. Weaker U.S. equities and losses in
commodities led by grains also dragged bullion lower. 
 
    Gold prices have held in a trading range in the last three
months due to uncertainty that central banks will take further
monetary stimulus to reinvigorate economic growth. 
    Most Wall Street economists, however, still expect the U.S.
Federal Reserve to do more to stimulate growth this year, with
the majority looking for action as soon as September.
    "Everybody seems to be waiting for this huge money printing
that they think is going to happen which hasn't happened yet. So
nobody really wants to bet against it, but at the same time they
don't want to go long," said Doug Roberts, chief investment
strategist at Channel Capital Research.
    Spot gold was down 0.6 percent at $1,610.35 an ounce
by 3:40 p.m. EDT (1940 GMT), having earlier hit a high at
$1,625.21. 
    Last week, the metal rose 1 percent on hopes of more easing
in China based on disappointing manufacturing data in the
world's second-largest economy.
    U.S. gold futures for December delivery settled down
$10.20 an ounce at $1,612.60.
    Trading volume was 40 percent below its 30-day average,
preliminary Reuters data showed.
    
    CAUTIOUS TONE
    Bullion investors remained cautious. The latest U.S. CFTC
trade data showed that hedge funds and money managers cut their
net long position in U.S. gold futures and options in the week
to Aug. 7, reducing bullish bets on doubts over more imminent
monetary stimulus by the Federal Reserve and other central
banks. 
    The metal remains sharply below last September's record high
of around $1,920 an ounce, and it is only up 3 percent year to
date.
    The next major event for the gold market is likely to be the
annual meeting of economists and central bankers in Jackson
Hole, Wyoming, on Aug. 31.
    Among other metals, silver fell 1 percent to $27.81
an ounce. Platinum was down 0.7 percent at $1,383.25 an
ounce, while palladium fell 0.8 percent to $573.22 an
ounce.
    Platinum's unusual discount to gold hovered at nearly $230
an ounce on Monday, near a record level reached in the previous
session. 
    Platinum, which is much more rare than gold and mostly used
in autocatalysts for gasoline and diesel engines, has
traditionally traded well above gold prices. The metal has
suffered from lower demand from European carmakers, its main
consumer group.
    
 3:40 PM EDT     LAST/    NET   PCT      LOW    HIGH  CURRENT
                SETTLE   CHNG  CHNG                       VOL
 US Gold DEC   1612.60 -10.20  -0.6  1609.70 1628.20   89,124
 US Silver SEP  27.767 -0.295  -1.1   27.685  28.150   25,267
 US Plat OCT   1392.80  -7.10  -0.5  1385.90 1404.20    5,125
 US Pall SEP    574.70  -7.50  -1.3   572.25  582.95    1,433
                                                               
 Gold          1610.35  -9.09  -0.6  1607.95 1625.21         
 Silver         27.810 -0.270  -1.0   27.770  28.200
 Platinum      1383.25  -9.65  -0.7  1389.00 1403.00
 Palladium      573.22  -4.48  -0.8   575.52  581.25
                                                               
 TOTAL MARKET              VOLUME          30-D ATM VOLATILITY
                CURRENT   30D AVG  250D AVG   CURRENT     CHG
 US Gold         99,605   163,633   187,962     17.21   -0.04
 US Silver       34,364    39,707    56,670     22.96   -0.11
 US Platinum      5,325     6,828     8,964        23    0.00
 US Palladium     1,670     2,757     4,354                  
                                                               
 

 (Additional reporting by jan Harvey in London, Rujun Shen in
Singapore; Editing by Marguerita Choy and Jim Marshall)

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