PRECIOUS-Gold bounces from 2-week low as stimulus seen to continue
* Fed's stimulus seen to run through 2013 despite upbeat jobs data
* Spot gold neutral in $1,564.44-$1,586.90/oz - technicals
* Coming Up: France industrial output
(Adds details, comments; updates prices) SINGAPORE, March 11 (Reuters) - Gold edged up on Monday, off a two-week low hit in the previous session on better-than-expected U.S. jobs data, as the Federal Reserve is expected to continue to prop up the economy through 2013 with monetary stimulus, giving support to gold. U.S. employers added a greater-than-expected 236,000 workers to their payrolls in February and the jobless rate fell to a four-year low, but Wall Street expects the Fed to continue its bond buying programme through 2013.
The Fed's loose monetary policy has helped push gold to record highs in recent years, as investors seek a hedge against a rising inflation outlook due to cash printing by the central bank. "Gold prices have built in the view that the U.S. recovery is on a good footing and by the end of the year we should see the Fed exiting the stimulus, which should be bearish for gold," said Jeremy Friesen, commodity strategist at Societe Generale in Hong Kong. But a short-term bounce in gold is likely, as concerns about the strength of the U.S. recovery and expectations of aggressive monetary easing from the Bank of Japan next month might spur buying, he added. Spot gold inched up 0.2 percent to $1,580.66 an ounce previous session. U.S. gold was also up 0.2 percent, at $1,579.90. Technical analysis suggested spot gold looks neutral in the range of $1,564.44 to $1,585.90 an ounce, but is biased to fall below $1,564.44, said Reuters market analyst Wang Tao.
Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world's biggest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell 3.311 tonnes to 1,239.739 tonnes by the end of last week, the lowest since October 2011. SPDR Gold Trust has seen more than 111 tonnes of outflow this year, wiping out the total 96.25 tonnes of inflow in 2012, reflecting investors' shifting interest away from safe havens.
Echoing the sentiment of gold ETF investors, hedge funds and money managers cut their net long positions in U.S. gold futures and options by nearly 27 percent to 39,631 contracts in the week to March 5, the lowest since July 2007, Commodity Futures Trading Commission data showed. Net longs in silver dropped 47 percent on the week to 6,118 lots, the lowest in more than seven months, the data also showed. Spot palladium was little changed at $779.50, not far from Friday's peak at $784.50, its highest since September 2011.
Precious metals prices 0306 GMT
Metal Last Change Pct chg YTD pct chg Volume Spot Gold 1580.66 2.92 +0.19 -5.61 Spot Silver 29.06 0.10 +0.35 -4.03 Spot Platinum 1601.99 2.00 +0.13 4.36 Spot Palladium 779.50 -0.72 -0.09 12.64 COMEX GOLD APR3 1579.90 3.00 +0.19 -5.72 11506 COMEX SILVER MAY3 29.05 0.10 +0.35 -3.90 2439 Euro/Dollar 1.3006 Dollar/Yen 96.22
COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months
(Editing by Clarence Fernandez)