PRECIOUS-Gold steady; US budget talks in focus
SINGAPORE, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Gold was little changed on Monday after posting the third straight week of losses, as investors await progress on the negotiations in Washington to avert a fiscal disaster that could push the world's top economy into a recession. FUNDAMENTALS * Spot gold was flat at $1,695.01 an ounce by 0039 GMT, after falling nearly half a percent in the previous week. * U.S. gold traded little changed at $1,696.40. * U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner's offer to accept a tax rate increase for the wealthiest Americans knocks down a key Republican road block to a deal resolving the year-end "fiscal cliff." * Hedge funds and money managers raised their bullish bets on U.S. gold futures and options to 129,865 contracts in the week ended Dec. 11, up from a more than three-month low of 126,073 lots in the previous week. * But they cut net length in silver to 34,862 lots, its lowest since late November. * Conservative ex-premier Shinzo Abe will get a second chance to lead Japan after his Liberal Democratic Party won a landslide victory in Sunday's election, but he must move swiftly to bolster a sagging economy and manage strained ties with China to avoid the fate of his short-lived predecessors. * Spot palladium inched down 0.1 percent to $699.06, after rising for seven weeks straight, its longest winning streak in more than two years. * For the top stories on metals and other news, click , or MARKET NEWS * U.S. stocks fell on Friday as another slide in Apple took a toll and investors unloaded some shares because of the uncertainty surrounding the "fiscal cliff" negotiations. * The yen slumped to its lowest in over a year-and-a-half against the U.S. dollar on Monday as part of a broad skid after Japan's conservative LDP party, pledged to hyper-easy monetary policy, won a landslide victory at an election. DATA/EVENTS (GMT) 0900 Italy Trade balance Oct 1000 Euro zone Trade data Oct 1000 Euro zone Labour costs Q3 1330 US NY Fed Empire State survey Dec 1600 US Fed Board Governor Stein speaks 1800 US Richmond Fed President Lacker speaks PRICES Precious metals prices 0039 GMT Metal Last Change Pct chg YTD pct chg Volume Spot Gold 1695.01 -0.08 -0.00 8.39 Spot Silver 32.31 0.16 +0.50 16.68 Spot Platinum 1609.99 -4.01 -0.25 15.58 Spot Palladium 699.06 -0.94 -0.13 7.14 COMEX GOLD FEB3 1696.40 -0.60 -0.04 8.27 3808 COMEX SILVER MAR3 32.38 0.08 +0.25 15.99 849 Euro/Dollar 1.3160 Dollar/Yen 83.98 COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months (Reporting by Rujun Shen; Editing by Ed Davies)
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