October 2, 2012 / 3:30 PM / 5 years ago

PRECIOUS-Gold ends flat near 2012 high, US payrolls eyed

* Gold consolidates gains, hovers around 2012 highs
    * Platinum group metals mixed, US auto sales data upbeat
    * PIMCO's Gross: only gold, real assets will survive

 (Adds details, updates market activity)
    By Frank Tang
    NEW YORK, Oct 2 (Reuters) - Gold traded nearly flat on
Tuesday as the market consolidated gains a day after hitting a
2012 high and ahead of the all-important September U.S. nonfarm
payrolls data due later this week.
    Palladium rose 1.5 percent while platinum was little changed
as the largest U.S. automaker General Motors Co posted a
small gain in September U.S. sales and total U.S. auto sales
increased 12 percent. 
    The bullion market took a breather after the metal rose to
its highest level this year on Monday after Federal Reserve
Chairman Ben Bernanke renewed the central bank's pledge made in
September to keep monetary stimulus in place even after the
economic rebound appears to gain traction. 
    U.S. gold futures volume was on track to finish at a
one-month low as one of the world's top bullion consumers,
China, was absent from trading because of a week-long holiday
while India's market was also shut.
    "Although these holidays may mute activity slightly this
week, the new quarter and Friday's employment report will be
enough for CTAs (commodity trading advisors) and hedge funds to
adjust gold positions this week," Carlos Perez-Santalla of
brokerage PVM Futures, said in an email to clients.
    Spot gold edged up 61 cents at $1,774.40 an ounce by
3:10 p.m. EDT (1910 GMT). Monday's session high was $1,791.20,
its highest since mid-November last year.
    U.S. COMEX December gold futures settled down $7.70
at $1,775.60 an ounce.
    Bill Gross, founder and co-chief investment officer of bond
giant PIMCO, said that rising U.S. debt will lead the Federal
Reserve to print more money, stoking inflation and debasing the
    That would adversely affect stocks and bonds, while only
gold and real asset investments would survive, Gross said.
    A high concentration of call options near the current market
price of the SPDR Gold Trust suggests some bullion
investors are uncertain about gold's outlook ahead of Friday's
options expiry and the payrolls report.
    Investment demand for gold, as measured by inflows of metal
into the world's major gold exchange-traded funds, continued to
grow, following an addition of nearly 130,000 ounces of gold
into bullion funds including the SPDR Gold Trust, the world's
largest gold ETF. 
    Silver eased 0.2 percent to $34.57 an ounce. Platinum
 reversed early gains to inch down 0.1 percent to $1,669
an ounce, while palladium gained 1.4 percent to $647.72
an ounce.
    Platinum group metals was supported by the positive U.S.
auto sales report and ongoing mining labor unrest after a series
of violent strikes in South Africa's platinum belt, where most
of the world's supply comes from. 
 3:10 PM EDT     LAST/    NET   PCT      LOW    HIGH  CURRENT
                SETTLE   CHNG  CHNG                       VOL
 US Gold DEC   1775.60  -7.70  -0.4  1772.30 1786.60  105,418
 US Silver DEC  34.669 -0.283  -0.8   34.420  35.115   31,810
 US Plat OCT   1682.90   1.40   0.1  1674.10 1680.10       25
 US Pall DEC    654.20   8.60   1.3   641.70  656.35    2,384
 Gold          1774.40   0.61   0.0  1771.73 1784.20         
 Silver         34.570 -0.070  -0.2   34.440  35.040
 Platinum      1669.00  -2.00  -0.1  1671.90 1681.49
 Palladium      647.72   9.22   1.4   644.00  654.00
 TOTAL MARKET              VOLUME          30-D ATM VOLATILITY
                CURRENT   30D AVG  250D AVG   CURRENT     CHG
 US Gold        108,491   164,865   196,124     19.44    0.30
 US Silver       33,489    60,758    58,222     28.75    0.54
 US Platinum      7,565    16,164     8,943        23    0.00
 US Palladium     2,395     5,778     4,385                  
 (Additional reporting by Amanda Cooper and Clare Hutchison in
London; Editing by Bob Burgdorfer and Jim Marshall)

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