* ECB cuts main interest rate by 25 bps to 0.5 percent
* Asian physical buying slows after recent surge -dealers
* Gold ETFs holdings lowest since September 2009
* Coming up: U.S. April nonfarm payrolls data on Friday
(Adds comment, second byline, dateline)
By Frank Tang and Clara Denina
NEW YORK/LONDON, May 2 Gold rose on Thursday as
the European Central Bank cut its interest rate for the first
time in 10 months, affirming the metal's inflation-hedge appeal
a day after the Federal Reserve said it would keep up its bond
purchases to spur growth.
The metal was lifted by the ECB's decision to lower its key
rate by a quarter percentage point to a record low 0.5 percent,
and it held out the possibility of further policy action to
support the recession-hit euro zone economy.
Bullion had lost $225 per ounce between April 12 and 16 as
some feared the Fed might withdraw its stimulus. Since then,
strong physical demand around the world has cut that drop by
more than half.
On Wednesday, the Federal Open Market Committee said that it
would continue buying $85 billion in bonds each month to keep
interest rates low and spur growth.
"The gold market is responding to the fact that the FOMC
reiterated its easy monetary policy and left open the
possibility of further expansion," said Brad Yates, metals
trader at NTR Bullion Group.
"It's a slow day for U.S. physical demand with prices
recovering, however," Yates said.
Spot gold rose 0.8 percent to $1,467.81 an ounce by
1:54 p.m. EDT (1754 GMT), having earlier risen as high as
On Wednesday, the metal had pared losses after the FOMC
statement but still ended more than 1 percent lower.
U.S. Comex gold futures for June delivery settled up
$21.40 to $1,467.60 an ounce, with trading volume on track to
finish below its 30-day average, preliminary Reuters data
Easy monetary policy around the world extended gold's bull
run to a 12 consecutive year last year, as investors bought
bullion as a hedge against inflation and economic uncertainties
brought by unprecedented stimulus by central banks after the
2008 economic crisis.
A nearly 1 percent rally in the dollar index, and
after the ECB rate cut and Wall Street's strong gains, however,
kept gold from rising further, traders said.
Investors turned their attention toward the U.S. non-farm
payrolls report for April on Friday, which could give signals
for the longer-term prospects for the Fed's monetary stimulus.
On Thursday, data showed the number of Americans filing new
jobless benefits claims fell sharply last week to its lowest
level since the early days of the 2007-09 recession, a sign the
job market is still healing even though the economy remains
PHYSICAL MARKET SLOWS
Physical market activity slowed after a recent surge in the
purchase of gold bars, coins and nuggets across Asia sent
premiums for gold bars to multi-year highs.
Gold's sell-off last month has widened a disconnect between
funds that sold on dissatisfaction over bullion's
underperformance and individual investors who could not get
enough physical gold coins and bars at bargain prices.
SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed
exchange-traded fund, said its holdings fell 0.3 percent to
1,075.23 tonnes on Wednesday, the lowest since September 2009.
In other precious metals, silver rose 1.2 percent to
$23.81 an ounce. Platinum was up 1.3 percent to $1,490.50
an ounce, while palladium rose 0.9 percent to $692.
1:54 PM EDT LAST/ NET PCT LOW HIGH CURRENT
SETTLE CHNG CHNG VOL
US Gold JUN 1467.60 21.40 1.5 1448.10 1473.30 135,461
US Silver JUN 23.81 0.486 2.1 23.385 24.150 989
US Plat JUL 1500.20 30.70 2.1 1462.00 1501.80 8,225
US Pall JUN 693.30 8.55 1.2 682.95 695.85 2,206
Gold 1467.81 11.07 0.8 1449.58 1473.40
Silver 23.810 0.280 1.2 23.440 24.190
Platinum 1490.50 19.50 1.3 1465.50 1499.50
Palladium 692.00 6.50 0.9 685.50 693.00
TOTAL MARKET VOLUME 30-D ATM VOLATILITY
CURRENT 30D AVG 250D AVG CURRENT CHG
US Gold 143,015 231,053 177,504 20.56 -1.43
US Silver 51,567 76,633 54,895 34.63 4.64
US Platinum 8,299 15,234 11,944 18.92 -0.05
US Palladium 2,321 5,161 5,093
(Additional reporting by Lewa Pardomuan in Singapore; Editing
by Keiron Henderson, David Cowell and Chris Reese)