March 31, 2011 / 3:48 AM / 9 years ago

PRECIOUS-Gold edges up, heads for 10th quarterly rise since '08

 * Gold bounces up from lows; heads for 10th quarterly rise
 * Coming Up: Unemployment claims weekly; 1230 GMT

 (Updates prices, adds quotes)	
 By Lewa Pardomuan	
 SINGAPORE, March 31 (Reuters) - Gold inched up on Thursday and was on track
for its 10th consecutive quarterly rise since 2008 as an early drop spurred
cautious bargain hunting ahead of U.S. February employment data at the end of
the week.	
 U.S. private employers added more than 200,000 jobs in March, underscoring
expectations that momentum in the labour market will help underpin the economic
recovery. A Reuters poll shows a median forecast for employment, or non-farm
payrolls, is expected to rise by about 190,000 jobs in March, with private
payrolls forecast up by 200,000 when the data is released at 1230 GMT on Friday.
 Spot gold hit an intraday low of $1,420.25 an ounce before rebounding
to $1,426.00 by 0315 GMT, up $2.62 an ounce. Bullion had risen as high as $1,430
on Wednesday as resurgence of risk appetite spurred buying. 	
 "I think sentiment is slightly bullish because there are still many
uncertainties around. Even though the euro zone is expected to increase interest
rates, it will only be a small increase," said Ronald Leung, director of Lee
Cheong Gold Dealers in Hong Kong. 	
 "I think we are waiting for tomorrow. Nobody really knows what to do," said
Leung, referring to the U.S. job report.	
 Gold rallied to a lifetime high around $1,447 last week because of a falling
dollar, violence in the Middle East and North Africa as well as renewed concerns
about sovereign debt crisis in Europe. 	
 A Reuters survey showed on Wednesday that gold's decade-long price rally
which took the metal to record highs last week looks set to plateau in the
second quarter as more downside risks for bullion emerge. [ID:nLDE72T1AT]	
 U.S. gold futures for April dropped $2.4 an ounce to $1,421.4 an
 European Central Bank Executive Board member Lorenzo Bini Smaghi said on
Thursday the central bank's policy is to gradually raise interest rates, while
another board member, Juergen Stark, said rates are exceptionally low, cementing
expectations for an April interest rate hike [ID:nLOOKCBANK].  	
The euro  rose 0.1 percent to $1.4138 , facing resistance at $1.422 and
$1.4248. BNP Paribas is recommending long euro positions from $1.4120 to target
$1.45 with a stop at $1.402. 	
 In the physical market, consumers from Indonesia stayed on the sidelines,
but purchases from Thailand and Indonesia kept premiums for gold bars steady at
90 cents to the spot London price in Singapore. 	
 "I have to say there isn't much transaction on my side. I think people are
just waiting for the data tomorrow because there's no clear direction," said a
dealer in Singapore.	
 "But I heard the demand from China is still good and in fact we are still
getting inquiries from them," said the dealer, referring to the world's
second-largest consumer after India.  	
 The high-demand wedding season is underway in India, where jewellery is the
most common gift during religious events and weddings. 	
 In other markets, Most Asian shares edged up on Thursday, poised to end the
quarter on a positive note after being briefly ravaged earlier in the month by a
sell-off on Japan's disasters and Middle East turmoil, while the yen weakened on
expectations of higher interest rates outside Japan.  	
 Precious metals prices 0315 GMT
 Metal             Last    Change   Pct chg  YTD pct chg  Turnover
 Spot Gold        1426.00    2.62    +0.18      0.46
 Spot Silver        37.65    0.21    +0.56     22.00
 Spot Platinum    1775.49    9.64   +0.55      0.45
 Spot Palladium    755.47    3.69   +0.49     -5.51
 TOCOM Gold       3808.00   16.00    +0.42      2.12        40942
 TOCOM Platinum   4765.00    85.00   +1.82      1.47        11279
 TOCOM Silver      100.30    1.00    +1.01     23.83         1562
 TOCOM Palladium  2024.00    3.00   +0.15     -3.48          188
 Euro/Dollar       1.4136
 Dollar/Yen         82.84
 TOCOM prices in yen per gram. Spot prices in $ per ounce.
 (Reporting by Lewa Pardomuan; Editing by Ed Lane)	
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