PRECIOUS-Gold holds near 3-week high on Cyprus crisis

Tue Mar 19, 2013 8:41pm EDT

SINGAPORE, March 20 (Reuters) - Gold traded steady on
Wednesday, holding near a three-week high as Cyprus's rejection
of bailout terms triggered worries about a default, underpinning
safe haven demand in gold.
    
    FUNDAMENTALS
    * Spot gold was little changed at $1,612.26 an ounce
by 0026 GMT, near a three-week high of $1,615.16 hit on Tuesday.
    * U.S. gold traded nearly flat at $1,611.70.
    * Cyprus's parliament overwhelmingly rejected a proposed
levy on bank deposits as a condition for a European bailout on
Tuesday, throwing international efforts to rescue the latest
casualty of the euro zone debt crisis into disarray.
  
    * Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest
gold-backed exchange-traded fund, rose 2.708 tonnes to 1,222.162
tonnes on Tuesday, the first daily increase since early
February.
    * Groundbreaking to build U.S. homes rose in February and
permits for construction climbed to their highest level since
2008, signs the housing market recovery is gathering steam.
 
    * Europe's car sales in February shrank 10.2 percent on the
year to their lowest in at least 23 years, suffering from
austerity measures in debt-stricken euro zone nations, weighing
on platinum and palladium, which are widely used in producing
autocatalysts to clean up exhaust. 
    * Spot platinum was flat at $1,553.50, off a more
than two-month low of $1,545.25. Spot palladium inched up
0.2 percent to $734.47, after tumbling 3.9 percent in the
previous session, the sharpest one-day decline in nearly five
months.
    * German analyst and investor sentiment edged up in March in
another sign that Europe's largest economy rebounded in the
first quarter but the ZEW warned that there was an increased
risk the euro zone debt crisis was worsening. 
    * For the top stories on metals and other news, click
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    MARKET NEWS
    * The S&P 500 fell for a third day on Tuesday but pared
losses late in the day after the parliament of Cyprus rejected a
proposed tax on bank deposits. 
    * The euro was pinned near four-month lows against the U.S.
dollar in Asia on Wednesday after Cyprus' rejection of bailout
terms seemed to threaten default or even expulsion from the euro
zone. 
    
    DATA/EVENTS (GMT)
 1800  U.S.   Fed policy decision                          
 2330  Japan  Reuters Tankan DI Mar 2013                   
 2350  Japan  Exports yy Feb 2013                          
        
    PRICES
    
     Precious metals prices 0026 GMT
  Metal             Last    Change  Pct chg  YTD pct chg    Volume
  Spot Gold        1612.26   -0.53   -0.03     -3.72
  Spot Silver        28.92    0.05   +0.17     -4.49
  Spot Platinum    1553.50    0.00   +0.00      1.21
  Spot Palladium    734.47    1.47   +0.20      6.14
  COMEX GOLD APR3  1611.70    0.40   +0.02     -3.83         1483
  COMEX SILVER MAY3  28.90    0.06   +0.20     -4.40          584
  Euro/Dollar       1.2869
  Dollar/Yen         95.05
  COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months
 
 (Reporting by Rujun Shen; Editing by Richard Pullin)
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