PRECIOUS-Gold hits 2-mth low on large sell order, hopes U.S. shutdown to end
SINGAPORE, Oct 2 (Reuters) - Gold fell to two-month lows on Wednesday, rattled by a large sell order in New York that pushed prices below $1,300 the session before and on weak safe-haven buying after what many expect to be a short-lived U.S. government shutdown.
* Spot gold had dropped 0.4 percent to $1,280.35 an ounce by 0024 GMT, after losing 3 percent on Tuesday.
* Bullion fell abruptly in early U.S. trading on Tuesday as a massive Comex sell order appeared to overwhelm the market, sending prices $25 an ounce lower and triggering further technical stop-loss selling below $1,300, analysts said.
* The early activity stirred market talk of forced liquidation by a distressed commodities fund and of selling related to a fund rebalancing on the first day of the third quarter, although no details could be confirmed.
* The White House rejected a Republican plan to reopen portions of the U.S. government on Tuesday as the first shutdown in 17 years closed landmarks like the Statue of Liberty and threw hundreds of thousands of federal employees out of work.
* The anticipated unwinding of U.S. stimulus and expectations of improving economic growth leave little room for a rebound in gold prices over the next few years, Fitch Ratings said, adding that a further decline remains a real possibility.
* India's only gold imports in August and September were for exporters' use, reducing volumes to a fraction of what the world's biggest bullion buyer used to bring in before the government took steps to rein in purchases.
* Swiss gold refiner Metalor Technologies has postponed the full-scale launch of its refinery in Singapore to next year due to a delay in construction, a company executive said.
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* The dollar and U.S. stock futures held steady on Wednesday as investors bet the first partial U.S. government shutdown in 17 years would be short-lived.
DATA/EVENTS (GMT) 0900 Euro zone Producer price index 1215 U.S. ADP employment report 1230 European Central Bank interest rate decision 1345 U.S. ISM-New York business activity 1930 Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke speaks
Precious metals prices 0024 GMT
Metal Last Change Pct chg YTD pct chg Volume Spot Gold 1280.35 -5.64 -0.44 -23.54 Spot Silver 21.03 -0.08 -0.38 -30.55 Spot Platinum 1374.00 -0.60 -0.04 -10.49 Spot Palladium 712.22 -2.78 -0.39 2.92 COMEX GOLD DEC3 1280.50 -5.60 -0.44 -23.59 8512 COMEX SILVER DEC3 21.07 -0.11 -0.52 -30.49 838 Euro/Dollar 1.3512 Dollar/Yen 98.04
COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months
(Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi; Editing by Joseph Radford)