February 4, 2013 / 4:16 AM / 7 years ago

PRECIOUS-Gold edges up but economic recovery hopes limit gains

* Platinum rises to near 4-mth high; palladium rises to
17-month peak
    * Spot gold neutral in $1,657.54-$1,681.70/oz - technicals
    * Coming up: U.S. factory orders, Dec; 1500 GMT

 (Adds details, comments; updates prices)
    By Rujun Shen
    SINGAPORE, Feb 4 (Reuters) - Gold ticked up on Monday but
failed to climb above a recent narrow trading range as mostly
upbeat U.S. data took some shine off the precious metal, which
withers when economic recovery gains traction.
    While U.S. non-farm payrolls rose by a modest 157,000 in
January, job gains in the two previous months were revised up by
127,000. The U.S. manufacturing sector hit nine-month highs in
January and U.S. consumer sentiment rose more than expected. 
    Recent upbeat economic data from key economies suggested a
brighter outlook, which dulls gold's safe-haven appeal and
weakens the case for prolonged monetary stimulus, cutting gold's
draw as an inflation hedge. Platinum and palladium, however,
have benefited due to their industrial application.
    "Investors remain fairly optimistic in the U.S. recovery,
which makes gold less attractive, even though recent data is
rather a mixed bag," said Chen Min, an analyst at Jinrui Futures
in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen.
    "Unless we see surprisingly good news for gold, it will be
trapped in a narrow range of roughly $1,660 and $1,680 an
    Trading interest in the Chinese market is expected to wind
down this week, as China approaches a week-long Lunar New Year
holiday starting this Saturday, Chen added.
    Spot gold inched up 0.3 percent to $1,670.65 an ounce
by 0709 GMT. U.S. gold was little changed at $1,671.40.
    The benchmark gold on Tokyo Commodity Exchange hit a
record high of 5,000 yen a gram, boosted by a weak yen on
expectations that the Bank of Japan will continue loosening its
monetary policy. 
    Spot platinum rose as much as 1.5 percent to
$1,705.25, its highest in nearly four months. Spot palladium
 gained as much as 0.7 percent to $759.75, its loftiest
level since September, 2011. 
    "Palladium and platinum will likely do better on account of
stronger automobile sales," said Ed Meir, an analyst at INTL
FCStone, in a research note.
    "But of the two, we think palladium will likely outperform
platinum given that it is more sensitive to the stronger U.S.
and Chinese automobile markets as opposed to platinum, which is
used more in the thoroughly depressed diesel-centric European
catalytic converter markets."  
    Platinum has outperformed the rest of the complex with a
nearly 11 percent gain so far this year, followed by a 9 percent
rise in palladium. Gold is down 0.3 percent, being the only
precious metal in the red, after a 12-year winning streak. 
    Asia's physical gold market saw light trading volume as the
rangebound prices sapped interest from market participants.
    "We see some light buying from Indonesia, but Thailand is
quiet," said a Singapore-based dealer. "Everyone is waiting for
a fresh catalyst and a clear direction."
    Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest
gold-backed exchange-traded fund, were unchanged at 1,328.092
tonnes for the fourth consecutive session. The fund recorded an
outflow of 22.728 tonnes in January, its biggest monthly outflow
since last July.    

      Precious metals prices 0709 GMT
  Metal             Last    Change  Pct chg  YTD pct chg    Volume
  Spot Gold        1670.65    4.11   +0.25     -0.23
  Spot Silver        31.78   -0.02   -0.06      4.95
  Spot Platinum    1699.50   19.01   +1.13     10.72
  Spot Palladium    756.00    1.82   +0.24      9.25
  COMEX GOLD APR3  1671.40    0.80   +0.05     -0.26        15813
  COMEX SILVER MAR3  31.79   -0.17   -0.53      5.16         3507
  Euro/Dollar       1.3625
  Dollar/Yen         92.59
  COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months
 (Additional reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr.; Editing by Himani
Sarkar and Muralikumar Anantharaman)
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