PRECIOUS-Gold stays off 4-1/2 mth low on Asia physical buying
* Gold tests 200-day moving average * Spot gold could fall to $1,624.14/oz -technicals * Coming up: Germany industrial output, Nov; 1100 GMT (Updates prices) By Rujun Shen SINGAPORE, Jan 9 (Reuters) - Gold held around $1,660 an ounce on Wednesday as investors awaited policy decisions by central banks in Japan and the euro zone, while physical buying interest from Asia helped support sentiment. Gold fell to a more than four-month low below $1,630 an ounce last week after investors were spooked by minutes from the latest U.S. Federal Reserve policy meeting, which showed concerns about the side effects of quantitative easing. Monetary stimulus measures taken by central banks in the United States and Europe helped drive gold to its twelfth year of gains in 2012, as investors worried about the debasement of paper currency fled to hard assets. The Bank of Japan will consider easing monetary policy again this month, while the European Central Bank is expected to keep interest rates unchanged at a meeting on Thursday. Analysts said last week's sell-off was overdone, as there have been no clear signals the Fed will scale down or stop its bond purchasing programme any time soon. "One clear signal for gold to sell off is if we see real rates go higher," said Dominic Schnider, an analyst at UBS Wealth Management in Singapore. "But that's not for now." Schnider said lower-than-expected inflation globally last year, especially in the last quarter, made gold less attractive to investors, who had become seemingly immune to repeated rounds of quantitative easing. Spot gold had inched up 0.2 percent to $1,661.50 by 0721 GMT, attempting to hold steady above its 200-day moving average at $1,660.95. U.S. gold was little changed at $1,661.80. Technical analysis suggested spot gold could drop to $1,642.14 an ounce, as it looks weak when approaching resistance at $1,660, said Reuters market analyst Wang Tao. Strong physical buying interest from Asian countries, including top two gold consumers India and China, is likely to keep supporting gold prices, although the lack of fresh momentum will make it hard for gold to push significantly higher, traders and analysts said. "Gold will probably trade in a broad range of $1,625 to $1,675 in the next few weeks," said a Singapore-based trader. Premiums on gold shipments to India jumped to their highest level in two months on Tuesday as traders rushed to place orders for the metal ahead of an expected rise in import duty, even as gold refiners overseas hurried to keep pace. Holdings of iShares Silver Trust, the world's biggest silver-backed exchange-traded fund, rose to 10,112.22 tonnes on Jan 7, the highest since May 2011. Spot silver rose 0.2 percent to $30.42, after rising more than 9 percent in 2012. Precious metals prices 0721 GMT Metal Last Change Pct chg YTD pct chg Volume Spot Gold 1661.50 2.90 +0.17 -0.78 Spot Silver 30.42 0.07 +0.23 0.46 Spot Platinum 1576.50 2.80 +0.18 2.70 Spot Palladium 672.52 4.42 +0.66 -2.82 COMEX GOLD FEB3 1661.80 -0.40 -0.02 -0.84 16401 COMEX SILVER MAR3 30.44 -0.02 -0.08 0.69 3891 Euro/Dollar 1.3085 Dollar/Yen 87.43 COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months (Editing by Richard Pullin and Joseph Radford)
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DAVOS, Switzerland - Central banks have done their best to rescue the world economy by printing money and politicians must now act fast to enact structural reforms and pro-investment policies to boost growth, central bankers said on Saturday.