Gold set for second weekly loss as U.S. data sparks stimulus fears

Last Updated: Fri, Nov 08, 2013 04:47 hrs

Gold was trading near three-week lows on Friday and heading for a second straight weekly loss after strong U.S. economic growth sparked fears the U.S. Federal Reserve may scale back its bullion-friendly bond purchases this year.

U.S. gross domestic product grew at a 2.8 percent annual rate in the third quarter, the quickest pace in a year, after expanding 2.5 percent in the second quarter.

Investors are now waiting for U.S. nonfarm payroll data later in the day for further direction and clues on the timing of the "tapering" of the Fed's economic stimulus.

"There is not much interest in gold for the time being," said Ronald Leung, chief dealer at Lee Cheong Gold Dealers in Hong Kong.

"Everyone is waiting for nonfarm payroll data today. There doesn't seem to be much good news for gold lately."

Spot gold edged up 0.1 percent to $1,308.80 an ounce by 0348 GMT after hitting a three-week low of $1,298.31 in the previous session. The metal has fallen 0.5 percent this week.

Gold was also weighed down by weakness in the euro, which struggled in Asian trade after a surprise rate cut by the European Central Bank sent the single currency plunging to near eight-week lows.

Gold has lost about a fifth of its value this year due to fears the Fed would begin cutting back its $85 billion monthly bond purchases. The metal's inflation-hedge appeal has been burnished by the bond purchases and low interest rates.

Investors had believed a prolonged budget battle in Washington in October would prevent the Fed from withdrawing support for the economy and possibly push the tapering into next year. However, Thursday's GDP data rekindled fears of a roll-back at the Fed's December meeting.

"We expect relatively subdued trading today around the current level of $1,309 until closer to the nonfarm payrolls tonight," ANZ analysts said in a note.

A stronger-than-expected report would probably see expectations for Fed tapering pulled forward from the first quarter of 2014 and push the U.S. dollar higher, they said.

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