PRECIOUS-Gold set for best week in two months on U.S. stimulus hopes

Fri Oct 18, 2013 3:09am EDT

* Gold adds about 4 percent for the week, near one-week high
    * Market sees delay in tapering on U.S. budget uncertainties
    * Dollar index near eight-month low, supports gold prices
 

 (Updates prices)
    By A. Ananthalakshmi
    SINGAPORE, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Gold was trading near one-week
highs on Friday and headed for its best weekly gain in two
months on hopes that uncertainties in Washington would prompt
the Federal Reserve to delay its stimulus tapering.
    U.S. Congress reached a last-minute agreement this week to
increase its borrowing capacity till early next year, averting
an historic debt default and ending a partial government
shutdown. 
    Gold fell about 4 percent during the U.S. government
shutdown, but jumped 3 percent on Thursday after the dollar
dropped to eight-month lows and a Chinese rating agency
downgraded the U.S. sovereign rating.
    "(The rebound) is largely due to expectations in the market,
when gold prices were dropping for a few days, that the downside
was limited," said Songwut Apirakkhit, managing director of
Globlex Holding Management in Bangkok, pointing to the potential
for further political gridlock.
    "Even though it was a second-tier rating agency like Dagong,
gold gained as the dollar (was) sold off."
    Prices were also supported on Thursday by two separate
bursts of unusually heavy buy orders that lifted prices by $40
in minutes. This marks the fifth time in less than two weeks the
benchmark U.S. Comex gold futures contract for December delivery
has posted sudden, often unexplained, intraday price swings.
 
    Spot gold rose 0.2 percent to $1,321.66 an ounce by
0648 GMT, recording a near 4 percent gain for the week. 
    Apirakkhit said gold could stay at these levels and possibly
push higher as the timeline for the Fed tapering has been pushed
out and the United States has not resolved its budget issues. 
    "The keyword here is temporary," said Apirakkhit, referring
to the U.S. debt deal. "Since it is not finalised yet, gold can
still see some support."
    The Fed will likely defer any decision to trim its massive
bond buys until at least December, two top Fed officials
suggested. 
    Economists said the tapering could be delayed until early
2014 as the U.S. recovers from the impact of the government
shutdown. 
    Gold's gains supported other precious metals, with silver
 and platinum headed for their best weekly
performance in months. 
    
  Precious metals prices 0648 GMT
  Metal             Last    Change  Pct chg  YTD pct chg    Volume
  Spot Gold        1321.66    2.57   +0.19    -21.07
  Spot Silver        21.87    0.03   +0.14    -27.77
  Spot Platinum    1437.74    7.84   +0.55     -6.34
  Spot Palladium    738.47   -0.03   -0.00      6.72
  COMEX GOLD DEC3  1321.50   -1.50   -0.11    -21.14        18606
  COMEX SILVER DEC3  21.93   -0.02   -0.10    -27.65         4566
  Euro/Dollar       1.3683
  Dollar/Yen         98.01
 
  COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months
 
 (Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi; Editing by Richard Pullin and
Michael Perry)
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