Gold steady ahead of central bank meetings, key US data this week

News

Gold steadied on Monday after a sharp decline in the previous session, as investors looked forward to several major central bank meetings and U.S. inflation data release this week for further direction.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Spot gold was up 0.1% at $2,005.85 per ounce as of 0038 GMT, after dropping about 3.3% last week in its worst week in more than two months. U.S. gold futures rose 0.3% to $2,021.90.

* Data on Friday showed U.S. nonfarm payrolls increased by 199,000 last month, above economists’ expectations for 180,000 in job gains.

* The stronger-than-expected jobs report prompted traders to pare back expectations that the Federal Reserve could cut interest rates as soon as March. However, it did not change views that the U.S. rate-hiking cycle was complete.

* Focus has now shifted to the November U.S. consumer price report on Tuesday for more clues on the interest rate path.

* Markets are now pricing in about a 45% chance of a Fed rate cut in March, down from 60% before the jobs report. Traders widely expect the Fed to leave rates unchanged at the end of its two-day policy meeting on Wednesday.
* The European Central Bank, Bank of England, Norges Bank and the Swiss National Bank are all meeting on Thursday.
* Lower interest rates tend to support non-interest-bearing bullion.

* Physical gold dealers in India increased discounts to seven-month highs last week to lure customers as record local prices hurt demand.

* COMEX gold speculators lowered their net long position by 11,895 contracts to 132,515 in the week ended Dec. 5, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission said on Friday.

* Spot silver rose 0.3% to $23.25 per ounce, while platinum gained 0.5% to $918.88 and palladium climbed 0.3% to $950.13 per ounce.

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