* Investors mull impact of U.S. election on fiscal cliff
* Indian gold importers await price direction
By David Brough
LONDON, Nov 6 Gold steadied near a nine-week low
on Tuesday as investors assessed potential policy impact from
the neck-and-neck U.S. presidential election.
Spot gold rose 0.48 percent to $1,692.05 by 1349 GMT,
but stayed close to Monday's nine-week low of $1,672.24. U.S.
gold futures for December rose $9.00 to $1,692.20.
Prices slid more than 2 percent on Friday after
stronger-than-expected U.S. jobs data lifted the dollar.
Investors were also alert to the start of a 48-hour strike
on Tuesday by tens of thousands of Greek workers to protest a
new round of austerity cuts.
President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney
face the verdict of U.S. voters on Tuesday after a long and
bitter White House campaign, with polls showing them deadlocked
in a race that will be decided in a handful of states where it
is extraordinarily close.
Some analysts say a win by Obama could boost bullion,
keeping Ben Bernanke at the helm of the Federal Reserve and
maintaining ultra-easy monetary policy, while a win by Romney
would be a positive for stocks on business-friendly policies and
Cash printing by central banks boosts gold's appeal as it
keeps interest rates at a low level, reducing the opportunity
cost of holding the metal that has no yield outside its actual
Gold had jumped to nearly $1,800 an ounce last month on
central bank stimulus measures, but has since eased.
"If Obama wins we would be certain Ben Bernanke would remain
in office as Federal Reserve chairman at least until his normal
term expires," Peter Fertig, a consultant with Quantitative
Commodity Research, said, adding that an Obama victory would
signal a continuing relaxed monetary policy.
"The overriding sentiment in the gold market after the
election will be the outcome in dealing with the looming fiscal
cliff," Fertig said.
With the Republicans seen retaining control of the U.S.
House of Representatives, a victory for Obama would be seen as
raising the risk of policy paralysis.
If Congress cannot agree new arrangements, about $600
billion in government spending cuts and higher taxes will kick
in early next year, with the so-called fiscal cliff seen hurting
U.S. economic growth while underpinning safe-haven assets.
"An Obama win is potentially supportive to gold because of
the possibility of a much more difficult (policy) negotiation,"
said David Wilson, analyst with Citigroup.
"With a Republican-dominated Congress, negotiations would be
somewhat easier for a Romney government."
HSBC said in a note that the outcome of the U.S. election is
likely to determine the direction of gold short term.
"A Romney victory in the presidential race could push
interest rates up and that an Obama re-election could lower
them," it said.
"Lower interest rates historically have helped gold prices
and higher rates have been gold-negative."
Gold importers in India stayed on the sidelines awaiting
price directions ahead of potential policy spin-offs from the
U.S. presidential elections.
"If the rupee remains depressed, it will weigh on gold
buying," Wilson said.
Gold imports to India, the world's biggest buyer of bullion,
could fall to 550 tonnes next year, after touching 967 tonnes in
2011, as high inflation and prices bite into disposable incomes
of consumers, the head of a trade body said on Tuesday.
AngloGold Ashanti on Tuesday again suspended
operations at its Mponeng mine in South Africa after a sit-in
protest just two days after striking miners returned to work.
Gold is expected to remain above a support zone of
$1,675-$1,678 per ounce for one more trading session, as there
is no indication of a break below this zone, according to
Reuters market analyst Wang Tao.
Spot platinum was up 0.15 percent at $1,541.49 and
spot palladium rose 0.70 percent to $613.22.
Silver was up 0.55 percent at $31.32 an ounce.