Gold steady ahead of US jobs data
Gold was steady today, holding onto minor gains from the previous two sessions as investors awaited cues from central banks on their plans to shore up the frail global economy, while a key US employment report on Friday was also in focus.
Gold managed to eke out slim gains in the previous session, shrugging off tumbling oil prices on disappointing data from the eurozone and China, as the belief that bullion will benefit from more stimulus measures from around the world continued to support sentiment.
Trading interest was thin as China, a key market player in the region, is still on a public holiday. Investors are also watching the European Central Bank and Bank of England for their rate decisions later in the day.
Traders are likely to stay cautious ahead of the release of the all-important US employment report due Friday, after data on Wednesday showed a surprise jump in private employment in the world's largest economy.
"There is little interest right now as people focus on the nonfarm payrolls data on Friday," said Peter Fung, head of dealing at Wing Fung Precious Metals in Hong Kong.
"For now, gold is stuck in a narrow range of $US1,775 and $US1,780 an ounce."
Spot gold was little changed at $US1,778.84 an ounce.
US gold inched up 0.1 percent to $US1,781.50.
Technical outlook suggested gold will make a brisk move if it can break the range of $US1,760-$US1,785, said Reuters market analyst Wang Tao.
Investor interest in gold remained buoyed, as holdings of gold-backed exchange-traded funds had inched up to 74.152 million ounces by Oct. 2, just off a record high of 74.288 million ounces hit in late September.
Spot platinum hit a 2-1/2-week high of $US1,686.49 an ounce, in the eighth straight session of gains, supported by the spreading labour strife in South Africa that has already forced production to halt at top producer Anglo American Platinum's Rustenburg mines and also affected some gold mines.
"We think that all these markets (including gold) will likely head south if the sell-off we had in energy morphs into a broader retrenchment over the days ahead," said Ed Meir, an analyst at INTL FCStone, in a research note.
Though traditionally gold is viewed as a safe haven asset, sharp falls in other markets could spill over and drag bullion down as investors sell their gold to cover losses elsewhere, as seen at the onset of the global financial crisis in late 2008.