PRECIOUS-Gold heads for 2nd weekly rise, PGMs off 17-month peak

Fri Feb 8, 2013 2:41am EST

* Spot gold to fall to $1,657-techicals 
    * Coming Up: U.S. International trade; 1330 GMT

 (Updates prices)
    By Lewa Pardomuan
    SINGAPORE, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Gold regained its footing on
Friday after the euro's weakness pulled it lower in the previous
session, while platinum and palladium dropped from their
strongest levels in more than a year.
    Bargain hunting and firmer equities helped lift gold prices
although thin trade ahead of the Lunar New Year exaggerated
movements, with investors also factoring in China's
better-than-expected trade data for January. 
    Gold fell to $1,667.64 an ounce before rebounding to
$1,671.22 by 0712 GMT, steady from the previous session. Gold,
which is heading for its second straight weekly rise, ended up
around 7 percent in 2012 - the 12th straight year of gains,
making it one of the longest bull runs ever for a commodity.
    "For gold, the technical picture comes into place. I think
we are at a crossroad where the uptrend since May is actually
meeting the downtrend from September-October," said Dominic
Schnider, an analyst at UBS Wealth Management in Singapore.
    "So from that angle, it's very important that we continue to
see the uptrend being confirmed."
    U.S. gold futures were also steady at $1,672.00 an
ounce.
         
    
    
    Platinum and palladium extended losses, having
rallied to their highest level since September 2011 earlier this
week on hopes of a better economic outlook.
    The two metals, which are used in jewellery and auto
catalysts, had gained, before the recent losses, on a more
positive economic outlook and after mining disruptions
in South Africa, as well as a drop in supply from Russia.
 
    Platinum faces a resistance at $1,777 per ounce, and may
retrace into a range of $1,620-$1,650 over the next four weeks,
according to Wang Tao, a Reuters market analyst for commodities
and energy technicals. 
    In other markets, shares edged up after China's trade data
for January handily beat forecasts to underscore a recovery
trend, while the euro hovered near a two-week low after European
Central Bank's chief cited downside risks to the bloc's economy.
  
    A firmer dollar weighs on gold prices by making the metal
more expensive for holders of other currencies.
    China's exports and imports surged in January as the first
hard data of the year pointed to robust domestic demand and a
pick up in the economy not solely explained by the timing of the
Lunar New Year holiday. 
    "There's pre-holiday buying in Hong Kong and China which has
pushed up the gold price a little bit. But it's pretty quiet on
our side," said a dealer in Hong Kong.
    "Let's see what people think about gold after the holiday,
whether it will break the current ranges."
    China's gold production rose for a sixth consecutive year
and hit a record 403 tonnes in 2012, keeping its ranking as the
world's largest bullion producer, the Shanghai Securities News
said on Thursday. 
    
  Precious metals prices 0712 GMT
  Metal             Last    Change  Pct chg  YTD pct chg    Volume
  Spot Gold        1671.22    0.53   +0.03     -0.20
  Spot Silver        31.49    0.05   +0.16      4.00
  Spot Platinum    1706.50   -9.24   -0.54     11.17
  Spot Palladium    743.41   -4.56   -0.61      7.43
  COMEX GOLD APR3  1672.00    0.70   +0.04     -0.23        11646
  COMEX SILVER MAR3  31.50    0.10   +0.31      4.20         3607
  Euro/Dollar       1.3388
  Dollar/Yen         93.17
 
  COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months
 
 (Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)
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