PRECIOUS-Gold rises from 1-month low after U.S. payrolls
* Fed stimulus seen continuing after bright U.S. jobs data
* China's gold imports from Hong Kong hit 10-month low
* Eyes on next week's Federal Reserve meeting, fiscal cliff
(Updates throughout, changes byline, dateline, previously LONDON) NEW YORK, Dec 7 (Reuters) - Gold edged up on Friday, rebounding from early lows, as upbeat U.S. nonfarm payrolls data did not alter a view that the Federal Reserve will continue to use bullion-friendly economic stimulus to boost growth. For the week, bullion was down almost 1 percent for a second consecutive weekly loss. The metal fell to a one-month low earlier in the session after data showed U.S. employers hired more workers than expected in November and jobs growth remaining on a steady but slow path. However, gold buying emerged as the market later focused on downward revisions to the job figures in September and October. A sharp decline in consumer confidence in early December and short-covering by funds also lifted gold prices. Analysts also said that the encouraging jobs report was not enough to dash hopes of more Fed buyback of assets known as quantitative easing (QE) to ease worries about the fiscal cliff, referring to tax hikes and spending cuts set to kick in early next year. "It's all about QE with these metals and I don't think there is any end of that in 2013," said Matthew Schilling, commodities broker at futures brokerage RJ O'Brien. Spot gold was down 0.1 percent at $1,700.74 an ounce $1,683.79. U.S. COMEX gold futures for December delivery edged up 80 cents an ounce to $1,702.60, with trading volume on track to finish below its 30-day average, preliminary Reuters data showed. The payrolls data was being closely watched ahead of a policy meeting of the Federal Reserve next week, at which the U.S. central bank is forecast to announce a fresh round of Treasury bond purchases to stimulate the weak U.S. economy. Many economists expect the U.S. central bank to announce monthly bond purchases of $45 billion after its policy gathering on Dec. 11-12. This will be on top of its September announcement of $40 billion in mortgage-backed securities until the job market dramatically improves. "(Today's jobs data) doesn't remove the need for stimulus but might convince the Fed to opt for a smaller program," BK Asset Management managing director Kathy Lien said.
GOLD ETFS HIT RECORD HIGHS Investors' appetite for physically backed funds held firm, with holdings of gold exchange-traded funds hitting record highs at 76.133 million ounces on Thursday. However, gold imports from Hong Kong to China, vying with India as the world's number one buyer, fell to 47.478 tonnes in October, data from the Hong Kong government showed on Friday, their lowest in ten months. Among other precious metals, silver was up a penny at $32.97 an ounce. Spot platinum was up 0.6 percent at $1,602 an ounce, while spot palladium was up 0.1 percent at $690.90 an ounce.
Prices at 11:24 a.m. EST (1624 GMT)
LAST NET PCT YTD CHG CHG CHG US gold 1702.60 0.80 0.1% 8.7% US silver 33.075 -0.039 -0.1% 18.5% US platinum 1605.50 4.60 0.3% 14.7% US palladium 696.10 -0.95 -0.1% 6.1%Gold 1700.74 2.12 0.1% 8.8% Silver 32.97 0.01 0.0% 19.1% Platinum 1602.00 9.50 0.6% 15.0% Palladium 690.90 0.90 0.1% 5.9%Gold Fix 1701.50 4.50 0.3% 8.1% Silver Fix 32.85 2.00 0.1% 16.6% Platinum Fix 1600.00 7.00 0.4% 15.9% Palladium Fix 698.00 8.00 1.2% 9.7%
(Additional reporting by Jan Harvey and David Brough in London; Editing by Marguerita Choy)