PRECIOUS-Gold near 4-week high; Greek crisis on focus
* Gold due for correction-technicals [ID:nL3E7GV03H]
* Coming Up: U.S. consumer confidence; 1400 GMT (Updates prices)
By Lewa Pardomuan
SINGAPORE, May 31 (Reuters) - Gold held near its highest in almost four weeks in volatile trade on Tuesday as lingering fears about a Greek debt default overshadowed a rebound in the euro, while silver was heading for its biggest monthly decline since 2008.
A Wall Street Journal report that Germany could make concessions on efforts to put together a bailout for Greece lifted the single currency, but analysts said Grece's debt crisis deterred investors from searching out higher risk assets.
Spot gold hit an intraday high of $1,540.36, its highest since May 4, before slipping to $1,536.59 an ounce by 0536 GMT, down 0.09 percent. Gold is down 1.7 percent so far in May, hovering below a lifetime high around $1,575 touched early in the month.
"It's crucial for markets to see whether Greece is actually sustainable and whether it can actually obtain the next 12 billion euros that is required for them to meet their funding needs in July," said Ong Yi Ling, investment analyst at Phillip Futures in Singapore.
"I think silver was going up too fast and within too short a period of time. But I think on a longer-term basis after the sell off, you see that investors are slowly coming back."
Silver was barely changed at $38.12 an ounce, but the metal is down around 20 percent in May -- its biggest monthly decline since 2008. Silver struck record at $49.51 an ounce in April.
The European Union is racing to draft a second bailout package for Greece to release vital loans next month and avert the risk of the euro zone country defaulting, EU officials said on Monday. [ID:nLDE74T0LG]
Germany is considering dropping its push for an early rescheduling of Greek bonds in order to facilitate a new package of aid loans for Greece, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. [ID:nL3E7GU21K]
The euro rose as high as $1.4407 , its highest in three weeks, piercing its 55-day moving average of $1.4334 and also $1.4373, the top of the Ichimoku cloud on the daily chart.
The physical market lacked activity, but some speculators could be tempted to cash in on gold's gains. Demand from top consumer India was likely to ease as the wedding season comes to an end.
Indian parents customarily give gold jewellery as gifts.
"It's a very quiet start," said a dealer in Singapore.
"But we saw two-way business yesterday. Thailand and Indonesia were sellers, while the Indians were the buyers. We also saw speculators buying silver."
In other markets, The Nikkei rose on predictions of strong industrial output in the coming months, while solar-energy shares gained on news that Germany will shut all its nuclear reactors by 2022.
Credit rating agency Moody's during the midday break placed Japan's sovereign ratings on review for possible downgrade, citing concerns about a weak policy response to faltering economic growth prospects. [ID:nT9E7GH024]
The Shanghai bourse plans to temporarily increase margins on gold and silver forward contracts on settlement at June 2 and trading limits on June 3, before the market closes for a public holiday on June 6. [ID:nL3E7GU06Q]
Precious metals prices 0536 GMT Metal Last Change Pct chg YTD pct chg Turnover Spot Gold 1536.59 -1.36 -0.09 8.25 Spot Silver 38.12 0.07 +0.18 23.53 Spot Platinum 1802.24 5.89 +0.33 1.97 Spot Palladium 760.22 5.07 +0.67 -4.91 TOCOM Gold 4029.00 29.00 +0.73 8.05 37114 TOCOM Platinum 4775.00 54.00 +1.14 1.68 8877 TOCOM Silver 99.70 0.80 +0.81 23.09 1278 TOCOM Palladium 2002.00 25.00 +1.26 -4.53 340 Euro/Dollar 1.4374 Dollar/Yen 81.33 TOCOM prices in yen per gram. Spot prices in $ per ounce. (Reporting by Lewa Pardomuan; Editing by Ed Lane)
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