PRECIOUS-Gold hovers around 6-month lows, economic recovery hopes weigh

Tue Feb 19, 2013 8:28pm EST

SINGAPORE, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Gold hovered just above $1,600
an ounce on Wednesday, unable to pull significantly higher from
a six-month low hit last week as upbeat German data sapped
interest in the safe-haven metal and the advance in equities
drew investors.
    An ultra-bearish technical formation on gold charts
suggested a pullback could be on the way, when on Tuesday spot
gold was on the brink of forming a "death cross," when its
50-day moving average broke below its 200-day moving average.
 
    
    FUNDAMENTALS
    * Spot gold was little changed at $1,605.60 an ounce
by 0031 GMT. It dropped to $1,598.04 late last week, the lowest
since August, 2012.
    * U.S. gold traded steady at $1,605.50.
    * Optimism that the worst of the euro zone debt crisis is
over has helped German investor and analyst sentiment soar to
its highest level in nearly three years this month.
 
    * The S&P 500 index marched to its highest level in
more than five years. It has climbed for the past seven weeks in
its longest weekly winning streak since January 2011 and is up
about 7 percent so far this year. That compares with a 4 percent
decline in spot gold. 
    * The Federal Reserve's latest monetary stimulus program is
still appropriate through the end of this year given an anaemic
labour market despite the U.S. economy's brightening prospects,
said Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank President Dennis Lockhart,
seen as a bellwether centrist at the central bank.
 
    * Investors will be focusing on the wording in the minutes
of the Fed's latest policy meeting due to be released on
Wednesday to gauge the central bank's attitude towards its
monetary policy, which has helped gold rally in recent years.
    * Anglo American Platinum expects operations at its
South African mines to resume on Wednesday after workers staged
a one-day walk-out following union violence at one of its mines,
a spokeswoman said. 
    * Spot platinum edged up 0.2 percent to $1,690.99 an
ounce.
    * Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world's top
gold-backed exchange-traded fund, dropped more than 3 tonnes
from the previous session to 1,319.964 tonnes on Feb. 19, the
lowest level in nearly five months. 
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    MARKET NEWS
    * The yen held its ground against the dollar on Wednesday as
doubts surfaced on whether the Bank of Japan will put into
action bold plans to jumpstart the economy, while sterling
languished at a seven-month low. 
        
    
    DATA/EVENTS (GMT)
 0700 Germany   Producer prices                            
 0745 France    Business climate index                     
 0900 Italy     Industrial orders                          
 1245 U.S.      ICSC weekly chain store sales              
 1330 U.S.      Building permits                           
 1330 U.S.      Housing starts                             
 1330 U.S.      Producer prices                            
 1500 U.S.      Consumer confidence                        
 1900 U.S.      Federal Open Market Committee issues minutes from
                its Jan. 29-30 meeting 
        
    PRICES
    
   
 Precious metals prices 0031 GMT
  Metal             Last    Change  Pct chg  YTD pct chg    Volume
  Spot Gold        1605.60    1.39   +0.09     -4.12
  Spot Silver        29.45    0.03   +0.10     -2.74
  Spot Platinum    1690.99    3.24   +0.19     10.16
  Spot Palladium    763.50    2.28   +0.30     10.33
  COMEX GOLD APR3  1605.50    1.30   +0.08     -4.20         2610
  COMEX SILVER MAR3  29.45    0.02   +0.08     -2.60         1164
  Euro/Dollar       1.3414
  Dollar/Yen         93.68
  COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months
 
 (Reporting by Rujun Shen; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)