PRECIOUS-Gold eases after short-covering rally, tapering fears drag
* Gold, silver fall after sharp gains in previous session * Markets await U.S. GDP, nonfarm payroll data * SPDR sees outflows of 2.7 tonnes (Updates prices) By A. Ananthalakshmi SINGAPORE, Dec 5 (Reuters) - Gold edged lower on Thursday following a short-covering rally in the previous session, weighed down by concerns the U.S. Federal Reserve could soon begin tapering its monetary stimulus on strong economic data. Bullion prices rose the most in over a month on Wednesday despite strong data on U.S. private-sector hiring and service industry growth in the run up to the nonfarm payroll data on Friday. The short-covering gains came after gold hit fresh five-month lows for three straight sessions. "The markets are still positioned quite short. There is going to be a bigger reaction to a weaker-than-expected nonfarm payrolls report than to stronger-than-expected numbers," said Victor Thianpiriya, an analyst at ANZ. "If it's a strong report, it would just give the existing shorts a bit more validation and we could see prices go back to $1,220," he said. Prices risk falling to $1,180 - gold's three-year low hit in June - if they drop below $1,215, Thianpiriya said. Spot gold had fallen 0.4 percent to $1,237.94 an ounce by 0659 GMT, after gaining 1.6 percent in the previous session. Silver also edged lower after climbing nearly 3 percent in the previous session. Investors are in data-watch mode to determine how soon the Fed could begin scaling back its $85 billion in monthly bond purchases. They worry that strong data could prompt the central bank to taper from this month, with a policy meeting Dec. 17-18. The bond-buying stimulus has strongly supported gold prices as it boosts the metal's inflation-hedge appeal. Holdings in SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell 2.70 tonnes to 838.71 tonnes on Wednesday - their lowest since early 2009. PRICES AT 0659 GMT Metal Last Change Pct chg YTD pct chg Spot gold 1237.94 -5.27 -0.42 -26.07 Spot silver 19.58 -0.09 -0.46 -35.34 Spot platinum 1361.25 -7.25 -0.53 -11.32 Spot palladium 721.47 -3.03 -0.42 4.26 Comex gold Dec3 1238 -9.2 -0.74 -26.12 Comex silver Dec3 19.595 -0.235 -1.19 -35.35 Euro 1.3624 DXY 80.456 COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months (Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi; Editing by Richard Pullin, Joseph Radford and Supriya Kurane)
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