PRECIOUS-Gold inches up, uncertainty over US fiscal talks weighs

Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:58pm EST

SINGAPORE, Dec 20 (Reuters) - Gold inched up on Thursday but
stayed near its lowest in over three months, as uncertainty
around U.S. budget talks kept investors on edge.
    
    FUNDAMENTALS
    * Spot gold had inched up 0.1 percent to $1,668.47 an
ounce by 0038 GMT, after hitting $1,661.01 earlier this week,
its lowest since Aug. 31.
    * U.S. gold also edged up 0.1 percent, to $1,669.70.
    * Talks to avoid a U.S. fiscal crisis appeared to stall on
Wednesday as President Barack Obama accused Republicans of
digging in their heels due to a personal grudge against him,
while a top Republican called the president "irrational".
 
    * U.S. homebuilding permits touched their highest level in
nearly 4-1/2 years in November, pointing to strength in the
housing market, even though groundbreaking activity dropped.
 
    * South Africa wants to impose export curbs on minerals such
as platinum and iron ore as part of a drive by the ruling
African National Congress to create more jobs in industry in the
continent's biggest economy, a top official said on Wednesday.
 
    * Morale at German businesses climbed in December as their
confidence in the outlook rose at its fastest rate in 2-1/2
years, boosting hopes Europe's largest economy will bounce back
quickly after a weak end to 2012. 
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    MARKET NEWS
    * U.S. stocks sold off late in the day to close at session
lows on Wednesday. 
    * The yen languished near 20-month lows against its U.S.
peer on Thursday, but trading was choppy in thin conditions with
yen bears possibly suffering a case of cold feet as a Bank of
Japan's policy decision loomed. 
    
    DATA/EVENTS (GMT)
 0300 Japan    Bank of Japan announces policy decision
 0700 Germany  Import, producer prices for November
 0900 Italy    Retail Sales for October
 1300 US       Final GDP Q3
 1330 US       Weekly jobless claims
 1500 US       Existing home sales for November
   
    PRICES
     Precious metals prices 0038 GMT
  Metal             Last    Change  Pct chg  YTD pct chg    Volume
  Spot Gold        1668.47    1.91   +0.11      6.69
  Spot Silver        31.10    0.11   +0.35     12.31
  Spot Platinum    1586.24   -0.75   -0.05     13.87
  Spot Palladium    691.00   -0.04   -0.01      5.90
  COMEX GOLD FEB3  1669.70    2.00   +0.12      6.57         2300
  COMEX SILVER MAR3  31.17    0.05   +0.16     11.64          702
  Euro/Dollar       1.3213
  Dollar/Yen         84.25
  COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months
 
 (Reporting by Rujun Shen; Editing by Joseph Radford)