February 2, 2015 / 12:51 AM / 3 years ago

PRECIOUS-Gold holds gains after best month since 2012

SINGAPORE, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Gold steadied above $1,280 an
ounce on Monday after posting its biggest monthly gain in three
years in the prior session following weaker-than-expected U.S.
economic growth in the fourth quarter.
    Bullion is likely to maintain its safe-haven appeal amid
renewed concerns over the global economy with data showing
China's factory sector shrinking for the first time since 2012.
        
    FUNDAMENTALS
    * Spot gold was off 0.2 percent at $1,280.77 an ounce
by 0036 GMT after rising 2 percent on Friday. It ended January
with a gain of 8.4 percent, its largest monthly increase since
January 2012.
    * U.S. gold for April delivery rose 0.2 percent to
$1,281.60 an ounce.
    * U.S. economic growth slowed to a 2.6 percent annual pace
from a 5 percent rate in the third quarter as weak business
spending and a wider trade deficit offset the fastest pace of
consumer spending since 2006. 
    * China's factory sector unexpectedly shrank for the first
time in nearly 2-1/2 years in January and firms see more gloom
ahead, raising expectations that policymakers will take more
action to forestall a sharper slowdown. 
    * Greece's leftist government began its drive to persuade a
sceptical Europe to accept a new debt agreement while it starts
to roll back on austerity measures imposed under its existing
bailout agreement. 
    * Greece's new left-wing government will cancel plans to
sell the state natural gas utility and is firmly opposed to a
Canadian-run gold mine that is among the biggest foreign
investment projects in the country. 
    * U.S. Mint American Eagle gold coin sales in January rose
from December but were the lowest for that month since 2008, as
a rally in prices discouraged collector buying in what is
typically a period of peak demand. 
    * For the top stories on metals and other news, click
 or 
    
    MARKET NEWS
    * The yen rose while commodity currencies softened as
worries about the health of the Chinese economy dealt a fresh
blow to sentiment already unsettled by a selloff on Wall Street.
 Asian shares got off to a downbeat start.  
    * Oil prices fell as unions called a strike at U.S. oil and
chemical plants on the weekend, cutting some of the gains made
late last week when prices roared more than 8 percent on a sharp
drop in U.S. drilling. 
    
    DATA AHEAD (GMT)
    0145   China         HSBC manufacturing PMI final        Jan
    0855   Germany       Markit/BME manufacturing PMI final  Jan
    0900   Euro zone     Markit manufacturing PMI final      Jan
    1330   US            Personal income                     Dec
    1500   US            Construction spending               Dec
    1500   US            ISM manufacturing PMI               Jan
   
    
  Precious metals prices 0036 GMT
  Metal             Last    Change  Pct chg  YTD pct chg    
  Spot Gold        1280.77   -2.03   -0.16      8.21
  Spot Silver        17.19   -0.03   -0.17      9.77
  Spot Platinum    1234.24   -1.01   -0.08      2.86
  Spot Palladium    769.72    0.97   +0.13     -2.90
  COMEX GOLD APR5  1281.60    2.40   +0.19      8.23         
  COMEX SILVER MAR5  17.21    0.00   +0.01     10.33          
  Euro/Dollar       1.1309
  Dollar/Yen        117.27
 
  COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months
 
 (Reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr.; Editing by Ed Davies)

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