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Gold nudges $1,200 after PBOC rate cut

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AP

Gold nudged $1,200 an ounce after the Chinese central bank made a surprise policy move and announced it was cutting its benchmark lending and deposit rates and giving banks more freedom.

Spot gold was last up $6 $1,197 an ounce.

Earlier on Friday morning, gold fell as comments from European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi reignited speculation that the bank will inject more monetary stimulus into the euro zone economy, driving the euro lower against the dollar. .

Draghi said inflation expectations were dropping to levels he considered excessively low. Gold, which is priced in the dollar andtends to fall when the U.S. unit strengthens, surrendered early gains after his comments.

"There is some physical demand underneath the market. Every time we go towards the $1,185-1,180, there seems to be a bit of bargain hunting," MKS head of trading Afshin Nabavi said. "But gold can't really get its head above $1,200."

"Overall the dollar continues to be leading the way, therefore I have to say that despite the demand for physical, I would think that because of the weakness in the euro, we have a chance of testing the lows again."

A rally in the dollar earlier this month knocked gold to a 4-1/2 year low at $1,131.85 an ounce. Gold was on track for its third straight weekly gain on Friday, buoyed by short-covering and a pause in the dollar rally earlier this week, while traders also eyed central bank activity for cues.

Traders were also digesting news of central bank sales and purchases.

Ukraine slashed its gold reserves by more than a third inOctober, data from the International Monetary Fund showed, as the near-bankrupt country reels from fighting a pro-Russian separatist movement in the east.

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Russia raised its gold holdings for a seventh straight month in the same period. In physical markets, buying in top consumer China remained steady with premiums ranging between $2 and $3, helping lend support to global prices.

Among other precious metals, silver was down 0.4 percent at $16.16 an ounce, while spot platinum was up 0.3 percent at $1,212 an ounce and spot palladium was up 0.8 percent at $774.25 an ounce.

The precious metal was heading for its third-straight weekly gain on Friday, buoyed by short-covering and a pause in the dollar rally, while physical demand is also picking up on firmer prices.

The metal traded between $1,175 an ounce and $1,205 this week, largely steady after a dip to four-and-a-half-year lows earlier in the month.

"While the current macro environment of low inflation and a strong dollar has provided a headwind for bullion, a convincing break above the $1,200 level may invite buying from momentum investors," said HSBC analyst James Steel.

Helping support bullion, Thursday data showed that underlying inflation pressures rose in October, even though that also bolstered expectations of a mid-2015 interest rate hike from the Federal Reserve.

Bullion is seen as a hedge against inflation, though an increase in rates could dull its investment appeal. Gold is a non-interest-bearing asset.

was little changed at $1,192.64 an ounce by 0347 GMT, after gaining nearly 1 percent in the previous session. The metal is so far up 0.4 percent for the week.

The paused for breath on Friday as its recent rapid ascent on the yen attracted profit taking, though the market mood remains bullish on the currency given the outperformance of the U.S. economy.

Gold had fallen to a 4-1/2-year low of $1,131.85 earlier this month on a strong dollar.

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Traders were also digesting news of central bank sales and purchases. Ukraine slashed its gold reserves by more than a third in October, data from the International Monetary Fund showed, as the near-bankrupt country reels from fighting a pro-Russian separatist movement in the east.

Russia raised its gold holdings for a seventh straight month in the same period.

Significant buying and selling by central banks can influence gold prices.

In the physical markets, buying in top consumer China remained steady with premiums ranging between $2 and $3.


Gold exports from Switzerland, a major refining and trading center for precious metals, rose by more than 12 percent in October as shipments to major consumers India and China surged, data from the Swiss customs bureau showed on Thursday.