PRECIOUS-Gold hovers near $1,580/oz; US jobs data in focus

Thu Mar 7, 2013 7:53pm EST

SINGAPORE, March 8 (Reuters) - Gold hovered near $1,580 an
ounce on Friday ahead of the release of a key U.S. job market
report, as encouraging U.S. employment data earlier this week
and lack of monetary easing moves from major central banks muted
buying interest in gold. 
    
    FUNDAMENTALS
    * Spot gold was little changed at $1,579.25 an ounce
by 0037 GMT, on course for a 0.3 percent weekly rise. 
    * U.S. gold inched up 0.2 percent to $1,578.90.
    * Investors are eyeing the all-important U.S. February
employment report, due at 1330 GMT, after Thursday's weekly
jobless claims and Wednesday's ADP National Employment Report
showed signs of improvement in the labour market.
  
    * February's employment report is expected to show moderate
job growth as higher taxes and fears of deep government spending
cuts made employers cautious, economists said. 
    * The European Central Bank decided to keep interest rates
unchanged, citing positive economic survey indicators. ECB
President Mario Draghi said markets have settled after Italy's
inconclusive elections and any threat of contagion to other euro
members has been muted. 
    * Investors pulled $5.6 billion from gold exchange-traded
products (ETPs) in February after poor performance by the yellow
metal, but appetite for riskier, growth-oriented industrial
metals ETPs remained intact. 
    * Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world's biggest
gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell 1.805 tonnes to 1,243.05
tonnes on March 7, resuming a decline after pausing for one
session. 
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    MARKET NEWS
    * U.S. stocks closed modestly higher on Thursday, with the
Dow ending at a record for a third straight day as jobless
claims data pointed to a pick-up in the labour market's recovery
a day before the closely watched payrolls report. 
    * The euro held onto gains early in Asia on Friday, having
posted its second biggest one-day rally this year, after the
European Central Bank wrong footed investors who had positioned
for a more dovish signal from ECB President Mario Draghi. 
    
    DATA/EVENTS (GMT) 
 N/A  China     Exports                                     
 N/A  China     Imports                                     
 N/A  China     Trade balance                               
 1100 Germany   Industrial output                          
 1330 U.S.      Unemployment rate                           
 1330 U.S.      Non-farm payrolls                            
 1930 U.S.      CFTC commitment of traders data             
 
    PRICES
    
    Precious metals prices 0037 GMT
  Metal             Last    Change  Pct chg  YTD pct chg    Volume
  Spot Gold        1579.25    0.85   +0.05     -5.69
  Spot Silver        28.90    0.03   +0.10     -4.56
  Spot Platinum    1603.74   12.50   +0.79      4.48
  Spot Palladium    756.97    2.00   +0.26      9.39
  COMEX GOLD APR3  1578.90    3.80   +0.24     -5.78         1485
  COMEX SILVER MAY3  28.91    0.10   +0.34     -4.38          363
  Euro/Dollar       1.3100
  Dollar/Yen         94.88
  COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months
  

 (Reporting by Rujun Shen; Editing by Richard Pullin)
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