August 3, 2012 / 3:52 AM / 8 years ago

PRECIOUS-Gold flat after 4-day drop; US jobs in focus

* ECB disappoints with no mention of immediate action
    * CME cuts silver, platinum, palladium margins
    * Spot gold may fall to $1,572/oz - technicals
    * Coming up: U.S. non-farm payrolls, July; 1230 GMT

 (Adds comment; updates prices)
    By Rujun Shen
    SINGAPORE, Aug 3 (Reuters) - Gold traded little changed on
Friday, struggling to recover from a four-day losing streak
after the European Central Bank stopped short of offering any
immediate aid to contain the region's debt crisis, while caution
prevailed ahead of a key U.S. jobs report.
    The euro fell to a one-week low against the dollar after the
 ECB disappointment, especially as hopes for bold actions were
raised by ECB chief Mario Draghi's vow last week to do
everything possible to preserve the single currency.
    "Cash is king," said Dick Poon, manager of precious metals
at Heraeus in Hong Kong. "People would rather hold cash than
commodities, because they are still worried about what is going
on in the euro zone and economies elsewhere. The overall
sentiment is pretty negative."
    Spot gold was little changed at $1,591.21 an ounce by
0701 GMT, after falling for four consecutive sessions. It was
headed for a 2-percent weekly decline, its biggest in more than
one month.
    U.S. gold futures contract for December delivery 
gained 0.2 percent to $1,594.40.
    Gold held up relatively well above a support level near
$1,580, as Thursday's U.S. labour and manufacturing data
suggested the economy is mired in a soft patch, keeping hopes of
further monetary stimulus alive.  
    Later in the day, the market will closely watch the U.S.
non-farm payrolls data, which is likely to show job growth
picked up slightly in July, but not enough to dent the 8.2
percent unemployment rate. 
    Signs of worsening economic conditions could tip the scales
for the Federal Reserve towards providing another round of
quantitative easing, which would help gold attract investors who
worry about inflation as a result of rampant cash-printing by
the central bank.    
    Technical analysis suggested spot gold could break the
support level at $1,583 and fall towards $1,572, said Reuters
market analyst Wang Tao. 
    The CME Group plans to cut margins for COMEX silver futures
for the third time since February to help boost trading
interest, as stagnant prices sapped investor appetite.
    "Overall the market is still very thin, as margin cuts are
unable to disperse investors' concern about the economic
conditions," said Peter Fung, head of dealing at Wing Fung
Precious Metals in Hong Kong.
    Spot silver inched up 0.4 percent to $27.21 an ounce,
on course for a weekly fall of nearly 2 percent, its biggest
one-week decline since late June.
    COMEX silver futures contract for September delivery 
was up 0.7 percent to $27.17.
    The CME also plans to cut margins for NYMEX platinum and
palladium futures contracts.
   Precious metals prices 0701 GMT
  Metal             Last    Change  Pct chg  YTD pct chg    Volume
  Spot Gold        1591.21    1.47   +0.09      1.75
  Spot Silver        27.21    0.11   +0.41     -1.73
  Spot Platinum    1382.30    5.30   +0.38     -0.77
  Spot Palladium    569.25    4.05   +0.72    -12.76
  COMEX GOLD DEC2  1594.40    3.70   +0.23      1.76         7252
  COMEX SILVER SEP2  27.17    0.18   +0.65     -2.67         1907
  Euro/Dollar       1.2197
  Dollar/Yen         78.21
  COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months
 (Editing by Miral Fahmy)
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