CORRECTED-PRECIOUS-Gold heads for 3rd weekly decline as stronger dollar weighs

Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:25pm EST

(Corrects milestone in headline and first paragraph to third
weekly decline, not second)
    SINGAPORE, March 1 (Reuters) - Gold traded little changed on
Friday and was headed for a third straight weekly decline, with
a stronger dollar weighing on sentiment.
    The dollar index hovered near a six-month high hit in
the previous session as risk appetite was hurt by political
uncertainty in Italy and U.S. government spending cuts that are
due to kick in. The U.S. dollar attracted safe-haven inflows,
but that weighed on dollar-priced commodities. 
    
    FUNDAMENTALS
    * Spot gold was little changed at $1,580.14 an ounce
by 0045 GMT, after finishing February down 5 percent in a fifth
consecutive month of declines, its longest stretch of monthly
losses in 16 years.
    * U.S. gold inched up 0.1 percent to $1,580.
    * The U.S. government is facing $85 billion in cuts across
federal programmes on Friday, absent a highly unlikely
last-ditch deal, which could slow the U.S. and world economies.
 
    * The U.S. economy barely grew in the fourth quarter as the
military slashed spending and companies restocked their shelves
with less gusto, but growth already appears to be picking up.
 
    * Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest
gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell 0.3 percent on the day to
1,254.487 tonnes on Feb. 28, the lowest since early August 2012.
The fund saw a record monthly outflow of 73.606 tonnes in
February.
    * Inflation in the euro zone fell to 2.0 percent in January,
data from the European Union's statistics office showed on
Thursday, giving the European Central Bank room to consider a
rate cut when it meets next week. 
    * Euro zone finance ministers will discuss the situation in
Italy on Monday, a European Union source told Reuters, after the
inconclusive result of this week's elections raised fears of a
political stalemate in the bloc's third-biggest economy.
  
    * The energy regulator in South Africa, the world's top
platinum producer, on Thursday granted power utility Eskom an
average 8 percent annual increase in rates over five years, a
move that will bring some relief to households and industry as
it was half of what the utility was seeking. 
    * For the top stories on metals and other news, click
, or 
    
    MARKET NEWS
    * U.S. stocks ended flat on Thursday, giving up modest gains
late in the session, denying the Dow a chance to inch closer to
all-time highs. 
    
    DATA/EVENTS (GMT)
 0100  China      NBS manufacturing PMI                       
 0145  China      HSBC final manufacturing PMI                
 0500  India      HSBC Markit Manufacturing PMI              
 0700  Germany    Retail sales                                
 0843  Italy      Markit/ADACI Manufacturing PMI              
 0853  Germany    Markit/BME Manufacturing PMI                
 0858  Euro zone  Markit Manufacturing PMI                   
 1000  Euro zone  Inflation                                   
 1330  U.S.       Personal income                            
 1500  U.S.       ISM Manufacturing PMI                      
 1500  U.S.       Construction spending                        
 1930  U.S.       CFTC commitment of traders data            
 
    PRICES
    
     Precious metals prices 0045 GMT
  Metal             Last    Change  Pct chg  YTD pct chg    Volume
  Spot Gold        1580.14    0.38   +0.02     -5.64
  Spot Silver        28.53    0.02   +0.07     -5.78
  Spot Platinum    1571.99   -8.00   -0.51      2.41
  Spot Palladium    724.47   -1.75   -0.24      4.69
  COMEX GOLD APR3  1580.00    1.90   +0.12     -5.72         2139
  COMEX SILVER MAR3  28.51    0.12   +0.41     -5.69           13
  Euro/Dollar       1.3064
  Dollar/Yen         92.57
  COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months
 
 
 (Reporting by Rujun Shen; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)
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