Thursday, October 03, 2013

PRECIOUS-Gold up 2.4 pct on govt shutdown, jobs data below forecast
  • Bullion almost recoups Tuesday's losses
  • Private-sector jobs data for September weaker than expected
  • Dollar, S&P down while Treasuries, gold up
  • Coming up: Obama to meet congressional leaders at 5:30 p.m.
NEW YORK/LONDON, Oct 2 (Reuters) - Gold rose more than 2 percent on Wednesday as a drop in the dollar and a fall in U.S. equities sparked bargain hunting that recouped most of bullion's tumble the previous session. 

Gains in the precious metal accelerated after data showed U.S. private employers added fewer jobs than expected in September, according to payrolls processor ADP, underscoring steady but still sluggish growth in the labor market.

A partial government shutdown in Washington entered a second day, adding to concerns over how soon a political compromise would be reached. Congress must also agree to raise the debt limit in coming weeks or risk a default that could roil global markets. 

"The market is jittery because of the government shutdown. If the economy numbers continue to be weaker than expected, we may see a slide in the dollar, and money in equities flow back into Treasuries and metals for the time being," said Tom Power, senior commodities trader at futures brokerage R.J. O'Brien.

In a reversal of Tuesday's market, the S&P 500 index fell while safe havens such as U.S. Treasuries and gold rose.
Spot gold was up 2.4 percent to $1,316.41 an ounce at 2:44 p.m. EDT (1844 GMT), rebounding some $40 from a two-month low at $1,278.24 earlier in the session.

U.S. gold futures for December delivery settled up $34.60 at $1,320.70 an ounce, with volume about 5 percent above its 30-day average, preliminary Reuters data showed.

Gold's inflation-hedge appeal was boosted after the European Central Bank's chief said the ECB is watching moves in market interest rates closely and is ready to use any policy option to temper them if needed. 
Bullion's safe-haven status is usually burnished by economic uncertainty and geopolitical tension. Prolonged U.S. budget talks could lift gold's prices, as this keeps pressure on the Federal Reserve to maintain its monetary stimulus for an extended period of time.

On Wednesday, President Barack Obama planned to meet with congressional leaders with the deadlock in Washington showing no signs it will end in the near future. 

Slow growth and a weak jobs market mean the U.S. economy will continue to need support from accommodative monetary policy for years to come, top U.S. central banker Boston Federal Reserve Bank President Eric Rosengren said on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, bullion posted its biggest daily percentage drop in more than two weeks, following a big Comex sell order and technical selling once prices fell below $1,300 an ounce.

The sharp slide in the previous session stirred market talk of forced liquidation by a distressed commodities fund and of selling related to a fund rebalancing on the first day of the fourth quarter, although the talk could not be confirmed.

Among other precious metals, silver rose 2.9 percent to $21.73 an ounce. Platinum was up 1 percent to $1,388.25 an ounce and palladium gained 0.3 percent to $717.38 an ounce.

The platinum group metals market now focuses on Thursday's talks to seek an end to a strike that has brought most of the operations of South Africa's Anglo American Platinum to a standstill for nearly one week.