PRECIOUS-Gold edges up, headed for worst week in a month

SINGAPORE, May 17 (Reuters) - Gold edged up on Friday as
stock markets paused after rally, but the metal was still on
track for its worst weekly decline in a month as investors cut
exposure to bullion, sending holdings in exchange-traded funds
to the lowest in four years. 

    * Spot gold was up 0.17 percent to $1,388.11 an ounce
by 0038 GMT, having fallen to a four-week low of $1,369.29 on
Thursday as renewed liquidation in gold ETFs and the recent drop
below the $1,400-per-ounce level spooked investors.
    * U.S. gold for June delivery was little changed at
    * SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed
exchange-traded fund, said its holdings fell 0.55 percent to
1041.42 tonnes on Thursday - the lowest in four years.

    * Premiums for gold bars rallied to all-time highs in Hong
Kong and Singapore on Thursday after bullion's steepest drop
since its April sell-off fuelled another round of buying that
constricted supply. 
    * Gold investment nearly halved in the first quarter as a
brighter view of the U.S. economy prompted investors in the West
to favour other assets, but Chinese coin and bar demand hit a
quarterly record of 109.5 tonnes, the World Gold Council said on
    *  Indian gold futures fell 1.5 percent on Thursday,
extending losses for a second straight session, to hit their
lowest level in nearly a month in line with global markets. 
    * The Shanghai Gold Exchange (SGE) will launch after-hours
trading for Fridays on May 31 as part of its efforts to help its
members better manage price risks, the bourse said in a
statement on Thursday. 
    * For the top stories on metals and other news, click
, or 

    * The Nikkei share average fell for a second day on Friday
as caution over the recent steep rises continued to spur
profit-taking, while a pullback in Wall Street soured investor
    * Global equity markets fell on Thursday after a regional
president of the Federal Reserve said the U.S. central bank
could begin to ease up on its loose monetary policy this summer,
leading the dollar to recover against the euro. 

    1355     U.S. TR/U Michigan sentiment index     
    1400     U.S. Leading indicators              

  Metal             Last    Change  Pct chg  YTD pct chg   Volume
  Spot Gold        1388.11    2.42   +0.17    -17.10
  Spot Silver        22.67    0.01   +0.04    -25.13
  Spot Platinum    1479.99    0.99   +0.07     -3.58
  Spot Palladium    734.25   -1.75   -0.24      6.11
  COMEX GOLD JUN3  1386.70   -0.20   -0.01    -17.25        2478
  COMEX SILVER JUL3  22.63   -0.03   -0.13    -25.14         855
  Euro/Dollar       1.2884
  Dollar/Yen        102.21

  COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months

Gold slips as fund shift seen intact, TOCOM jumps on yen

Gold edged lower on Monday
after rising by the most since November in the previous session
on poor U.S. jobs data, with funds expected to continue cutting
bullion holdings for better investment yields elsewhere.
But gold futures in Tokyo jumped almost 5 percent to near
all time-highs, marking their sharpest daily rise since
September 2011, after the yen dropped to near four-year lows on
reports the Bank of Japan would begin buying longer-dated bonds
immediately to beat deflation.
Spot gold had dropped 0.2 percent to $1,578.94 an
ounce by 0642 GMT, also hurt by a firmer dollar versus a basket
of currencies.
Gold climbed nearly 2 percent on Friday after data showed
U.S. employers hired at the slowest pace in nine months in
March, backing expectations the Federal Reserve would sustain
its bullion-boosting monetary stimulus programme.        
But Monday's price drop shows the fund shift out of gold
remains intact with the U.S. economy generally expected to
perform better in the longer term, said Joyce Liu, investment
analyst at Phillip Futures.
"People are really pulling funds out of gold for better
investments such as equities and real estate in emerging
economies," said Liu.
"The kind of rally that we saw from 2009 to 2011 is no
longer going to be there anymore. We are more or less used to
having so much money flowing around in the economy."
Liu said she sees gold testing a support level of $1,530,
possibly over the next two weeks. 
Gold hit a 10-month low of around $1,539 last week and is
down nearly 6 percent this year. In contrast, the S&P 500 stock
index has gained almost 9 percent.    
    Others are more bearish on gold's prospects.
    "The lack of investment interest is currently a key drag on
the market," Credit Suisse analysts said in a note.
    "With technical momentum turning negative, there is a risk
for a shift lower towards $1,520 and ultimately $1,500, which is
a critical technical area that needs to hold for the sideways
trend to remain intact."
    U.S. gold futures were up 0.2 percent at $1,579.10
an ounce.
    Bullion holdings at the world's major gold exchange traded
funds continued to fall, hitting their lowest
since August 2012. 
    In Tokyo, gold futures surged as much as 4.8 percent to
5,025 yen ($51.71) per gram, near the record high of 5,081 yen
touched in February, as the yen faltered. 
    The most-active February contract on the Tokyo Commodity
Exchange closed up 4.5 percent at 5,015 yen, the biggest
single-day percentage increase since Sept. 27, 2011.
    The Japanese currency slid to 98.85 versus the dollar, its
weakest since June 2009, on reports that the central bank would
buy 1.2 trillion yen ($12.35 billion) of government bonds with a
maturity of over five years this week, showing a sense of
urgency never before seen in the BOJ. 
    "If the yen goes up to 100 then we have quite a good chance
to try higher prices for TOCOM gold," said Yuichi Ikemizu,
branch manager for Standard Bank in Tokyo.     
    Last week, the BOJ promised to inject about $1.4 trillion
into the economy in less than two years, a gamble that sent bond
yields plummeting as prices rose on the prospect of massive
purchases of debt by the central bank. 

  Precious metals prices 0642 GMT
  Metal             Last    Change  Pct chg  YTD pct chg    Volume
  Spot Gold        1578.94   -2.56   -0.16     -5.71
  Spot Silver        27.30    0.00   +0.00     -9.84
  Spot Platinum    1539.24    8.24   +0.54      0.28
  Spot Palladium    729.72    3.31   +0.46      5.45
  COMEX GOLD JUN3  1579.10    3.20   +0.20     -5.77        19847
  COMEX SILVER MAY3  27.25    0.03   +0.09     -9.87         3473
  Euro/Dollar       1.2984
  Dollar/Yen         98.54

  COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months
 ($1 = 97.1700 Japanese yen)


PRECIOUS-Gold off 4-week low, firm equities likely to weigh

old bounced on Wednesday
after falling to its weakest in nearly four weeks in the
previous session, but gains look set to be capped by firm
equities and renewed optimism over the U.S. economy.

    * Gold added $1.17 to $1,576.41 an ounce by 0030 GMT.
Gold fell to $1,573.39 on Tuesday, its lowest since March 8, as
investors shifted to equities after the benchmark S&P 500 index
 climbed to within striking distance of an all-time
intraday high.
    * U.S. gold for June was steady at $1,576.80 an
    * Dealers were awaiting the release of the U.S. nonfarm
payrolls report on Friday to confirm market views the Federal
Reserve wants to maintain its extremely accommodative monetary
policy, which has underpinned investor sentiment and sharpened
risk appetite. 
    * U.S. inflation is low and expectations remain well
contained, allowing the Federal Reserve to keep up aggressive
monetary policy measures to spur growth, Charles Evans,
president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, said on
     * For the top stories on metals and other news, click
, or 

    * Japan's Nikkei share average rose on Wednesday, as gains
in Wall Street helped the market recover from losses of more
than 3 percent in the past two days, while the euro remained
pressured by concerns about bailout consequences in Cyprus and
weak euro zone economies.   
    * U.S. crude futures slipped in early Asian trading on
Tuesday after data showed an unexpected slowdown in U.S.
manufacturing and on expectations that oil inventories would
continue to rise in the world's largest energy consumer. 

    0900 Euro zone Flash inflation 
    1215 U.S. ADP employment report 
    1400 U.S. ISM non-manufacturing index 


  Precious metals prices 0036 GMT
  Metal             Last    Change  Pct chg  YTD pct chg    Volume
  Spot Gold        1576.41    1.17   +0.07     -5.86
  Spot Silver        27.21    0.01   +0.04    -10.14
  Spot Platinum    1568.75   -0.75   -0.05      2.20
  Spot Palladium    766.22    2.22   +0.29     10.73
  COMEX GOLD JUN3  1576.80    0.90   +0.06     -5.91         2803
  COMEX SILVER MAY3  27.18   -0.07   -0.27    -10.11         1052
  Euro/Dollar       1.2813
  Dollar/Yen         93.52

  COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months