April 4, 2011 / 2:57 AM / 9 years ago

PRECIOUS-Gold edges up on high oil prices, euro strength

 * ECB expected to raise interest rates this week
 * Gold may revisit all-time high - technicals
 * Coming up: Euro zone producer prices, Feb; 0900 GMT

 (Adds details, comments; updates prices)	
 By Rujun Shen	
 SINGAPORE, April 4 (Reuters) - Spot gold edged up on Monday,
as higher oil prices amid the ongoing Middle East crisis and a
firm euro on expectations of a European Central Bank rate hike
lent support.	
 Upbeat U.S. employment data last Friday, indicating that the
global economy was likely on a firm footing, shaved some lustre
off gold's demand, but the ongoing Middle East crisis continued
to support the precious metal's safe-haven appeal.	
 "We saw the continuous geopolitical risk in the Middle East
crisis, and oil prices going higher. It certainly looks to me
that gold has been tracking both oil and euro quite closely in
past few days," said Darren Heathcote, head of trading at
Investec Australia.	
 The euro hit fresh 11-month highs against a broadly weaker
yen early in Asia on Monday and held firm against the dollar
with markets all but certain the European Central Bank will
raise interest rates this week. 	
 Rate hikes usually dampen sentiment in gold, seen as an
inflation hedge. But in the long run, rising inflation benefits
 "A great deal of expectations dictate that the ECB will
raise interest rates very soon, and probably will continue to
raise rates for the rest of the year. A lot of that you may
consider already priced in," said Heathcote.	
 Spot gold inched up 0.2 percent to $1,430.40 an ounce
by 0636 GMT, after ending the first quarter up 0.7 percent.	
 U.S. gold GCv1 gained 0.2 percent to $1,431.90.	
 Spot gold is still biased to rise to $1,447.40 per
ounce even after a sharp retracement to $1,412.55 on Friday,
said Reuters market analyst Wang Tao.	
 The ongoing turmoil in the Middle East buoyed oil prices,
pushing U.S. crude prices to a 2-1/2 year peak. 
 "Gold is still holding its ground and will probably be
range-bound," said a Singapore-based dealer, adding that gold is
expected to trade in a range $1,410 and $1,445.	
 Gold hit a record high at $1,447.40 on March 24.	
 Speculators in gold futures and options raised their net
long positions as prices rose to fresh records, data from the
U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission showed.[ID:nN01152819]
 Spot silver rose as high as $38.10, just a few cents
off a 31-year peak at $38.13. Silver has been the best performer
in the precious metals complex, up 23 percent so far this year. 	
 Speculative long positions in U.S. gold futures and options
rose on high prices, while slipped in silver, according to the
U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
 Precious metals prices 0636 GMT
 Metal             Last    Change  Pct chg  YTD pct    Volume
 Spot Gold        1430.40    2.42   +0.17      0.77
 Spot Silver        38.09    0.35   +0.93     23.43
 Spot Platinum    1767.99    2.99   +0.17      0.03
 Spot Palladium    775.50    5.55   +0.72     -3.00
 TOCOM Gold       3877.00   20.00   +0.52      3.97      50828
 TOCOM Platinum   4810.00   19.00   +0.40      2.43      12819
 TOCOM Silver      103.20    1.90   +1.88     27.41       1605
 TOCOM Palladium  2107.00   39.00   +1.89      0.48        459
 COMEX GOLD JUN1  1431.90    3.00   +0.21      0.74       6035
 COMEX SILVER MAY1  38.12    0.39   +1.03     23.21       4827
 Euro/Dollar       1.4231
 (Editing by Himani Sarkar)	
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