PRECIOUS-Gold eases on euro uncertainty, but above 7-month low

Sun Feb 24, 2013 8:02pm EST

SINGAPORE, Feb 25 (Reuters) - Gold ticked lower on Monday,
with investors cautious over the outcome of an unpredictable
election in Italy and its impact on the euro, but bullion held
above a 7-month low struck last week.
    Focus is also turning to HSBC's February survey on China's
manufacturing sector at 0145 GMT, after growth in the country's
giant factory sector accelerated to a two-year high last month.
 
          
    FUNDAMENTALS
    * Gold had dropped $4.10 an ounce to $1,576.20 by
00330 GMT, after posting modest gains on Friday. It hit a
seven-month low of $1,554.49 on Thursday after minutes from the
U.S. Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting triggered worries
the central bank might stop or slow its bond buying programme.
     * U.S. gold for April was at $1,575.70 an ounce, up
    $2.90.   
    * Italy voted on Sunday in one of the most unpredictable
elections in years, with many voters expressing rage against a
discredited elite and doubt that a government will emerge strong
enough to combat a severe economic crisis. 
    * Hedge funds and other big speculators cut their bullish
bets on U.S. commodities by the most in nearly 10 months just
before oil and metals prices tumbled this week on rumours a
commodities fund was dumping positions, trade data showed on
Friday. 
    * Russia and Turkey both raised their gold holdings for a
second consecutive month in January, data from the International
Monetary Fund showed on Friday, highlighting central banks'
interest in diversifying part of their reserves into bullion.
 
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    MARKET NEWS
    * The euro edged up to $1.3229 from a six-week low
around $1.3145, but further upside for the euro is seen limited
as investors eye the vote in Italy, where exit polls will be
published shortly after 1400 GMT on Monday. 
    * The Nikkei climbed to a 53-month high in early trade on
Monday after sources said Japan is likely to nominate Asian
Development Bank President Haruhiko Kuroda, an advocate of
aggressive monetary easing, as its next central bank chief. 
    
    DATA/EVENTS (GMT)
    0145 China HSBC Flash Manufacturing PMI 
    1330 U.S. National activity index 
    1530 U.S. Dallas Fed Manufacturing index 
  
    PRICES
    
  Precious metals prices 0033 GMT
  Metal             Last    Change  Pct chg  YTD pct chg    Volume
  Spot Gold        1576.20   -4.10   -0.26     -5.87
  Spot Silver        28.62   -0.07   -0.24     -5.48
  Spot Platinum    1600.25   -4.99   -0.31      4.25
  Spot Palladium    736.47    0.47   +0.06      6.43
  COMEX GOLD APR3  1575.70    2.90   +0.18     -5.97         4708
  COMEX SILVER MAR3  28.60    0.14   +0.49     -5.39         1054
  Euro/Dollar       1.3187
  Dollar/Yen         94.07
 
  COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months
 
    
    

 (Reporting by Lewa Pardomuan; Editing by Joseph Radford)