* Doubts on central bank action keep trading light
* Bank of England says no urgent need to ease money
* Gold demand in India soft ahead of festival season
* Coming up: U.S. jobless claims, wholesale data Thursday
(New throughout, updates prices, market activity; adds graphic
By Frank Tang
NEW YORK, Aug 8 Gold inched up on Wednesday, but
remained in a tight range as trading was quiet again due to
investor uncertainty about whether central banks would act to
stimulate frail economies.
Comments from Bank of England Governor Mervyn King saying
there was no urgent need to print more money disappointed
bullion investors hoping for stimulus actions from central
Traders said the gold market was still wondering whether the
U.S Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank will use
monetary stimulus, which could encourage gold buying, or refrain
from further action, which will probably spur selling.
Volume in U.S. gold futures was weak for a third consecutive
day. Nearly flat performance in U.S. equities and crude oil
failed to inspire a further rally in the metal.
"There appears to be little investor enthusiasm to push gold
prices in any clear direction. A dearth of important economic
releases this week and thin summer turnover may leave gold
trading in a near-term no-man's land," said James Steel, HSBC's
chief commodity analyst.
Spot gold inched up 0.1 percent at $1,612.35 an ounce
by 2:28 p.m. EDT (1828 GMT), recovering from losses earlier in
U.S. gold futures for December delivery settled up
$3.20 an ounce at $1,616, with volume at around 40 percent below
its 30-day average, preliminary Reuters showed.
Volume and volatility should stay low until the end of the
month when a central bankers' meeting will be held at Jackson
Hole, Wyoming, where Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke might drop a hint
about possible easing, TD Bank strategists said in a note.
Implied volatility for at-the-money gold call options
hovered at 14, near a one-year low. Traders said, however, the
metal looked set for a rebound rally, with volatility set to
climb back to the normal level at around 20.
WEAK INDIAN DEMAND, MONSOON IN FOCUS
Physical buying in gold, however, remained disappointing.
Gold demand in major consumer India was soft at the start of
the festival season, with rural buyers on the sidelines, holding
on to cash at a time when deficient monsoon rains threaten to
The rural population accounts for 60 percent of the gold
demand from India, where a weak rupee has already hit gold
buying, keeping local prices high. A hike in import taxes aimed
at cutting the trade deficit has also crimped gold buying.
In China, vying with India as the world's top gold buyer,
the trading volume on the popular gold spot deferred contract on
the Shanghai Gold Exchange was down nearly 30
percent from July's average daily volume.
Among other precious metals, silver was down 0.1
percent at $28.03 an ounce, while of the platinum group metals,
platinum edged up 0.1 percent at $1,403.75 an ounce and
palladium gained 0.5 percent to $582.70 an ounce.
2:28 PM EDT LAST/ NET PCT LOW HIGH CURRENT
SETTLE CHNG CHNG VOL
US Gold DEC 1616.00 3.20 0.2 1605.90 1619.50 89,772
US Silver SEP 28.075 -0.011 0.0 27.660 28.210 36,302
US Plat OCT 1410.20 -0.20 0.0 1399.00 1411.40 4,302
US Pall SEP 586.50 -1.70 -0.3 581.50 587.95 2,207
Gold 1612.35 1.67 0.1 1603.98 1616.40
Silver 28.030 -0.040 -0.1 27.730 28.250
Platinum 1403.75 1.15 0.1 1401.00 1406.50
Palladium 582.70 3.00 0.5 584.50 587.50
TOTAL MARKET VOLUME 30-D ATM VOLATILITY
CURRENT 30D AVG 250D AVG CURRENT CHG
US Gold 97,049 167,910 190,651 17.36 -0.03
US Silver 50,562 45,218 57,012 24.72 -0.68
US Platinum 4,447 8,537 8,978 23 0.00
US Palladium 3,087 2,926 4,342
(Additional reporting by Jan Harvey in London; Editing by Bob
Burgdorfer and David Gregorio)