PRECIOUS-Gold steady after sell-off, US fiscal talks eyed

Thu Nov 29, 2012 2:59am EST

* SPDR Gold Trust holdings hit record high for second day
    * CME says Wednesday's crash not a result of "fat finger"
    * Spot gold could retrace to $1,692/oz - technicals
    * Coming up: U.S. GDP, Q3; 1330 GMT

 (Adds details, graphics; updates prices)
    By Rujun Shen
    SINGAPORE, Nov 29 (Reuters) - Gold steadied on Thursday to
trade in a narrow range, after suffering its biggest daily
decline in nearly four weeks in the previous session, as
investors nervously eyed a looming deadline for averting a U.S.
fiscal crisis.
    While gold has been unable to break a heavy resistance at
$1,750 an ounce over the past week and briefly plunged to as low
as $1,705.64 an ounce on Wednesday, general bullish sentiment
for bullion remained intact as indicated by a rise in
gold-backed exchange traded funds to a record high.
 
    And the threat of the U.S. economy slipping off the "fiscal
cliff" may support the precious metal further, although the
strength in the dollar - a more popular safe haven - may take
some of gold's lustre off. 
    U.S. lawmakers are engaged in talks to avert $600 billion
worth of tax hikes and spending cuts, or the so-called "fiscal
cliff" due to start in the new year that threatens to push the
economy back to recession. 
    House Speaker John Boehner voiced optimism that Republicans
could broker a pact with the White House to avoid the fiscal
cliff on Wednesday. 
    "Generally people are still pretty bullish on gold and last
night was just a one-off correction, nothing extraordinary,"
said a Singapore-based trader, adding that $1,650-$1,700 would
be a good buying level.
    But he said Asian physical demand was disappointing.
    "We aren't seeing much physical demand, which is quite bad
for this time of the year," he said.
    Spot gold was nearly flat at $1,719.60 an ounce by
0722 GMT, after tumbling 1.3 percent in the previous session due
to a heavy bout of stop-loss selling.
    U.S. gold inched up 0.2 percent to $1,719.70, after
dropping 1.5 percent on Wednesday.
    Technical analysis suggested spot gold could retrace to
$1,692 an ounce during the day, said Reuters market analyst Wang
Tao.    
    
    
    CME SAYS NO "FAT FINGER"
    The CME Group, which operates the U.S. COMEX gold futures
market, said Wednesday's plunge in gold was not the consequence
of a "fat finger", or a human error.
    "It was not a 'fat finger'. The market sold off. No stop
logic triggered either, which meant the price decline wasn't
even fast enough to trigger a pause on Globex," said a spokesman
for CME, referring to the group's electronic trading platform.
    Holdings of the SPDR Gold Trust, the world's biggest
gold-backed exchange-traded fund, hit a record high for a second
consecutive day, underlying buoyant investment interest. 
    Its holdings stood at 1,347.018 tonnes on Nov. 28, up nearly
11 tonnes so far this month, on course for its fourth month of
straight gains, even though gold prices barely budged compared
to the end of last month.
    Spot silver lost 0.4 percent to $33.59, and the
gold-silver ratio stood at 51.2, hovering above a two-month low.
    Spot platinum was up 0.1 percent to $1,605.25, and
the spread between gold and platinum dropped to a more than
one-month low of $114.
    
   Precious metals prices 0722 GMT
  Metal             Last    Change  Pct chg  YTD pct chg    Volume
  Spot Gold        1719.60    0.29   +0.02      9.96
  Spot Silver        33.59   -0.14   -0.42     21.31
  Spot Platinum    1605.25    2.00   +0.12     15.24
  Spot Palladium    666.75   -5.75   -0.86      2.18
  COMEX GOLD DEC2  1719.70    3.20   +0.19      9.76         6731
  COMEX SILVER DEC2  33.60   -0.08   -0.25     20.37         2200
  Euro/Dollar       1.2948
  Dollar/Yen         82.15
  COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months
 
 (Editing by Himani Sarkar)
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