PRECIOUS-Gold rises from 3-month low, focus on U.S. budget impasse
* Some safe-haven bids emerge as Thurs debt deadline nears
* Progress seen but no deal yet to end U.S. fiscal gridlock
* SPDR holdings fall by nearly 6 tonnes
* Coming up: G20 Finance Ministers meeting in Washington
(Adds analyst comment, second byline, dateline, updates market activity) NEW YORK/LONDON, Oct 14 (Reuters) - Gold rose on Monday, up from a three-month low hit on Friday as U.S. lawmakers and President Barack Obama remained unable to clinch a deal to reopen the government and avert a looming default. Talks have been largely fruitless since what appeared to be a breakthrough on Thursday. Lawmakers said they still thought they could reach an agreement in the coming hours, and traders said that optimism kept gold from rising further. The Congress has until Oct. 17 to raise the debt ceiling, or risk defaulting. But the situation has not lifted gold anywhere near the record highs it hit the last time tension emerged over talks to lift the U.S. debt ceiling, in 2011. "Gold has failed to benefit from the recent risk events and although a catalyst lingers in the form of the looming debt ceiling deadline that could push gold prices higher," said Suki Cooper, precious metals strategist at Barclays Capital. "Given the negative market sentiment..., prices are likely to resist yet another opportunity," Cooper said. Spot gold rose 0.4 percent to $1,277.41 an ounce by 3:05 p.m. EDT (1905 GMT). During the session, gold rose as high as $1,288.88 an ounce. U.S. gold futures for December settled up $8.40 an ounce at $1,276.60, with volume about 40 percent below its 250-day average, preliminary Reuters data showed. Some U.S. traders were away as the bond market was shut for the Columbus Day holiday. On Friday, bullion fell to a three-month low $1,262.14 an ounce, after more than 3 million ounces changed hands on the Comex December futures contract in just 15 minutes, prompting a near $30 drop in prices and a brief trading halt. Gold has not seen much safe-haven bidding over the last two weeks, with parts of the U.S. government shut down. Instead, prices have slid on large sell orders, amplified by technical selling. Earlier this month, another big trade sent gold lower by $25 an ounce in a short time. This year, the metal has lost nearly a quarter of its value on expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve will soon end the stimulus program that had encouraged gold buying among investors concerned about low interest rates and potential inflation. Holdings in SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund and a gauge of investor sentiment, fell 5.40 tonnes to 890.98 tonnes on Friday.
Among other precious metals, silver rose 0.6 percent to $21.32 an ounce. Platinum was up 0.9 percent at $1,376.50 an ounce, while palladium inched up 9 cents to $711.59 an ounce. China's car sales totaled 1.59 million vehicles last month, up 21 percent from the year earlier, Friday's data showed. China's car market favours gasoline-powered engines, which use heavy palladium loadings in their catalysts.
3:05 PM EDT LAST/ NET PCT LOW HIGH CURRENT SETTLE CHNG CHNG VOL US Gold DEC 1276.60 8.40 0.7 1268.40 1291.60 99,997 US Silver DEC 21.354 0.095 0.4 21.110 21.680 25,889 US Plat JAN 1383.50 7.90 0.6 1367.00 1391.70 5,039 US Pall DEC 715.25 1.95 0.3 710.60 719.00 2,277 Gold 1277.41 4.79 0.4 1269.28 1288.86 Silver 21.320 0.130 0.6 21.120 21.660 Platinum 1376.50 12.80 0.9 1370.00 1387.24 Palladium 711.59 0.09 0.0 713.02 715.47 TOTAL MARKET 30-D ATM VOLATILITY CURRENT 250D AVG CURRENT CHG US Gold 101,457 189,283 24.5 -0.07 US Silver 26,509 58,610 34.28 0.00 US Platinum 5,069 12,978 20.8 -0.49 US Palladium 2,354 5,806
(Additional reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi in Singapore, editing by William Hardy and David Gregorio)