September 20, 2012 / 12:56 AM / in 5 years

PRECIOUS-Gold holds near 6-1/2-month top, China data eyed

SINGAPORE, Sept 20 (Reuters) - Gold steadied near its
highest level since February on Thursday, as investors paused
after lifting prices by nearly 10 percent so far this month
following moves by central banks from the United States to Japan
to spur growth in their economies.
    The bond purchases by these central banks fueled a rush for
bullion as investors braced for higher inflation, and
expectations are high more countries may follow which should
keep gold's uptrend intact. 
    
    FUNDAMENTALS
    * Spot gold was little changed at $1,770.14 an ounce
by 0036 GMT, just off a session high of $1,771.19. The precious
metal peaked at $1,779.10 on Wednesday, its highest since Feb.
29. 
    * U.S. gold futures for December delivery were
similarly steady at $1,772.90.
    * Pressure is building on China to make the next move to
provide stimulus to boost its slowing economy. A further
contraction in its vast manufacturing sector could finally
trigger action from Beijing.
    * A preliminary estimate from HSBC on the state of China's
factory activity is due out this morning. The HSBC Purchasing
Managers' Index for China stood at 47.6 in August, the lowest
level since March 2009.    
    * South African police fired tear gas and rubber bullets on
Wednesday to disperse protesters near a mine run by the world's
biggest platinum producer Anglo American Platinum, as
unrest spread after strikers at rival Lonmin  
won big pay rises. 
    * Canadian miner B2Gold Corp will buy CGA Mining
Ltd  for C$1.1 billion ($1.13 billion) to gain
access to one of the largest gold mines in the Philippines.
 
    * Another Canadian miner Goldcorp, one of the world's
largest gold producers, is considering teaming up with Mexico's
Fresnillo to develop a new precious metals venture in
the central Mexican state of Zacatecas. 
    * For the top stories on metals and other news, click
, or 
    
    MARKET NEWS
    * The yen held gains in Asia after staging a surprise bounce
as an initial selloff in reaction to the Bank of Japan's policy
easing fizzled, while upbeat growth data gave the New Zealand
currency a shot in the arm. 
    * Asian shares fell as investors awaited manufacturing data
from China later in the session for clues about whether Beijing
would be prompted to take more stimulus action in the world's
second-biggest economy. 
    
    DATA/EVENTS (GMT)
    0230    China HSBC Mfg Flash PMI              
    0658    France Markit Mfg Flash PMI           
    0728    Germany Markit Mfg Flash PMI          
    0758    Euro zone Markit Mfg flash PMI        
    1230    U.S. weekly jobless claims                
      
  Precious metals prices 0036 GMT
  Metal             Last    Change  Pct chg  YTD pct chg    
  Spot Gold        1770.14    0.95   +0.05     13.19
  Spot Silver        34.60    0.03   +0.09     24.95
  Spot Platinum    1632.74    0.24   +0.01     17.21
  Spot Palladium    667.50    0.70   +0.10      2.30
  COMEX GOLD DEC2  1772.90    1.20   +0.07     13.15         
  COMEX SILVER DEC2  34.67    0.08   +0.24     24.20         
  Euro/Dollar       1.3048
  Dollar/Yen         78.41
 
  COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months
 
 (Reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr.; Editing by Ed Davies)

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