PRECIOUS-Gold near 2-week lows on stronger dollar, U.S. data

Thu Oct 31, 2013 8:40pm EDT

SINGAPORE, Nov 1 (Reuters) - Gold was trading close its
lowest in nearly two weeks on Friday, hurt by sharp losses in
the previous session from month-end profit taking, strong U.S.
economic data and a higher dollar. 
    The metal is headed for a 2 percent weekly drop - its first
in three weeks - as bullish sentiment from expectations that the
Federal Reserve will keep its stimulus dissipated. 
    
    FUNDAMENTALS
    * Spot gold edged up 0.1 percent to $1,324.62 an
ounce by 0026 GMT, after Thursday's 1.4 percent slide. 
    * The pace of business activity in the U.S. Midwest jumped
in October, exceeding expectations and U.S. jobless claims
declined last week in welcome news for the nation's battered
labour market after the impact of a government shutdown on
furloughed federal workers diminished. 
    * Markets fear an improving economy could prompt the U.S.
central bank to cut back bullion-friendly stimulus measures. 
    * China bought more than 100 tonnes of gold from Hong Kong
for a fifth straight month in September as demand for bullion
bars and jewellery stayed strong, keeping it on track to
overtake India as the world's biggest gold consumer this year.
    
    * Barrick Gold Corp said it would stop development
of its Pascua-Lama mine in South America indefinitely, a
surprise reversal on a project that has already cost the world's
largest gold producer more than $5 billion. 
    * India's bullion industry is shrinking, squeezed by
government rules meant to curb a surge in gold imports, with
banks and others opting to redeploy personnel for now but
possibly facing big job cuts in coming months. 
    * The volume of gold transferred between accounts held by
bullion clearers fell 16.3 percent in September to an average
18.5 million ounces a day, its lowest since August 2012, the
London Bullion Market Association said. 
    * South Africa's AMCU union declared a wage dispute on
Thursday with platinum producer Lonmin . The
union also said its members in the gold sector were voting on
whether or not to strike over wages and could do so from next
week.     
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    MARKET NEWS
    * Asian shares edged down and the dollar inched higher in
early trade on Friday after upbeat U.S. economic data prompted
some investors to price in a less dovish policy outlook for the
U.S. Federal Reserve. 
    
    DATA/EVENTS (GMT) 
    0100 China Official manufacturing PMI 
    0145 China HSBC final manufacturing PMI 
    0500 India HSBC Markit manufacturing PMI 
    1400 U.S. ISM manufacturing PMI 
    
  Precious metals prices 0026 GMT
  Metal             Last    Change  Pct chg  YTD pct chg    Volume
  Spot Gold        1324.62    1.43   +0.11    -20.90
  Spot Silver        21.93    0.08   +0.37    -27.58
  Spot Platinum    1448.00   -0.50   -0.03     -5.67
  Spot Palladium    736.00    1.00   +0.14      6.36
  COMEX GOLD DEC3  1325.00    1.30   +0.10    -20.93         1665
  COMEX SILVER DEC3  21.95    0.08   +0.36    -27.59          454
  Euro/Dollar       1.3563
  Dollar/Yen         98.29
 
  COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months
 
 (Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi; Editing by Richard Pullin)