Gold inches down on investor caution before ECB, U.S. data

Last Updated: Thu, Nov 07, 2013 12:26 hrs
A salesgirl shows a gold necklace to customers at a jewellery showroom in Chandigarh

Gold edged lower on Thursday, hit by concern over the possible outcome of a European Central Bank meeting and a batch U.S. economic data which could give clues on when the Federal Reserve will begin rolling back its monetary stimulus.

U.S. July-Sept GDP data and initial jobless claims are due at 1330 GMT. But analysts say Friday's U.S. jobs report for October may provide the most telling insight into the impact of a government shutdown last month that may provoke an extended continuation of Fed bond-buying which undermines the dollar.

A weaker dollar makes assets like gold that are denominated in the U.S. currency cheaper and more appealing for investors, hence gains for the euro against the dollar have tended to support the metal.

"Gold has been in a descending trend for a long time and investors are likely to look at any economic data that could give direction," Credit Suisse analyst Karim Cherif said.

"Today the main focus is on the ECB for the currency link, but the U.S. payrolls data is going to be important and a negative footprint would re-launch a discussion on when Fed tapering will start," he added.

Spot gold was down 0.2 percent at $1,314.60 an ounce by 1103 GMT, after gaining 0.5 percent on Wednesday, when it snapped seven consecutive days of losses. Traders see technical support now pegged at $1,310 and $1,300, while short-term resistance stands at $1,350. The metal has been stuck in a narrow $1,306-$1,321 an ounce range this week

Comex gold futures for December lost $3.30 to $1,314.40 an ounce.

The euro hovered near one-week highs against the dollar ahead of an European Central Bank policy setting meeting later on Thursday.

A sharp fall in euro zone inflation last week increased speculation the ECB could contemplate cutting interest rates below the current 0.5 percent level, but a run of robust data in the last few days, pointing to a gradual if still weak recovery, have dampened the chances of any move. That was supporting the euro on Thursday.

"We still believe the (gold) market is prone to further losses with macro headlines and the dollar dominating trading," VTB Capital said.

Holdings of the SPDR Gold Trust, the largest of the Exchange Traded Funds (ETF) which allow investors to speculate without actually buying gold, rose 2.1 tonnes to 868.42 tonnes on Wednesday - the first increase since October 22.

But the fund, whose purchases of gold are a reflection of a rising investor interest in the metal, has seen over 450 tonnes in outflows this year, driving holdings to their lowest since early 2009.

Such outflows from gold ETFs have had a significant impact on prices this year. Expecting a scale back in stimulus measures, investors have been shifting money out of gold and into equities.

Spot silver fell 0.1 percent to $21.76 an ounce.

Spot platinum gained 0.1 percent to $1,462.99 an ounce, and spot palladium fell 0.7 percent to $756.72 an ounce, having hit its highest level since August 15 at $762.25 in earlier trade.

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