April 2, 2012 / 3:50 AM / 7 years ago

PRECIOUS-Gold edges up, eyes on currency market

* Gold remains range-bound in thin trade
    * Spot gold rebound could end at $1,677/oz - technicals
    * Coming up: euro zone Markit Mfg PMI, March; 1400 GMT

 (Updates prices)	
    By Rujun Shen	
    SINGAPORE, April 2 (Reuters) - Gold prices inched up on
Monday in the first trading day of the second quarter, waiting
for fresh cues from the currency market as investors digest data
from China and the United States as well as developments in the
euro zone.	
    The dollar index hovered above a near one-month low
hit last Friday after the euro rallied on hopes that Spain could
stick to an austerity plan. 	
    Gold has largely been taking its direction from the currency
market in recent weeks in an otherwise listless range play.	
    "There is no fresh topic in the gold market these days,"
said a trader at a large bullion house based in Tokyo.	
    "In the past few months people had focused on the debt
crisis in Europe, now that worry has calmed down despite some
remaining uncertainties and money is flowing back to equities."	
    Gold moved towards $1,700 last week after the U.S. Federal
Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke hinted of the possibility of more
pro-growth measures, but momentum faded quickly and prices
dipped to below $1,650.	
    Spot gold edged up 0.1 percent to $1,670.30 an ounce
by 0645 GMT, after posting a 6.6-percent rise in the first
quarter. Although prices fell 1.6 percent in March, a second
straight month in the red.	
    COMEX June contract was flat at $1,671.90 an ounce
in thin trading.	
    China's financial markets are closed for a public holiday
and will reopen on Thursday.	
    Bullion prices may end the rebound around a resistance point
at $1,677 an ounce and retrace towards $1,645 during the day,
said Reuters market analyst Wang Tao. 	
    Spot silver led gains in the precious metals complex,
up 1.2 percent to $32.58 an ounce, building on a 16-percent gain
in the first quarter.	
    Traders said gold could stay in a range between $1,640 and
$1,680 in the short term, in the absence of any major news.	
    China's manufacturing data over the weekend painted a mixed
picture, showing accelerated activities at big factories but
continued struggles for the smaller ones. 	
    Earlier, U.S. data showed consumer spending increased by the
most in seven months in February as households shook off a rise
in gasoline prices, leading economists to raise forecasts for
first-quarter growth. 	
    Most participants in the physical market remained sidelined.	
    A strike by India's jewellers enters its third week, as they
await the finance minister to announce the removal of a
previously planned excise duty on unbranded jewellery.
    Gold holdings in the world's key gold-backed exchange-traded
funds slipped for a second consecutive week last week.
    "Gold is also lacking sufficient investment enthusiasm to be
able to sideline the physical market as it did earlier in the
year thus, in turn, prices are struggling to gain momentum,"
said Barclays.	
    Buy money managers, including hedge funds and other large
speculators, raised their bullish bets in gold for the first
time in four weeks as the price of bullion rallied to a two-week
high near $1,700 an ounce. 	
   Precious metals prices 0645 GMT
  Metal             Last    Change  Pct chg  YTD pct chg    Volume
  Spot Gold        1670.30    2.40   +0.14      6.81
  Spot Silver        32.58    0.37   +1.15     17.66
  Spot Platinum    1639.75   -5.25   -0.32     17.71
  Spot Palladium    652.25    4.17   +0.64     -0.04
  COMEX GOLD JUN2  1671.90    0.00   +0.00      6.71        10862
  COMEX SILVER MAY2  32.60    0.11   +0.34     16.77         3143
  Euro/Dollar       1.3351
  Dollar/Yen         82.95
  COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months
 (Editing by Ed Davies)
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