PRECIOUS-Gold flat as Greek aid stalling, MidEast truce eyed
* Failure to reach Greek aid deal keeps gold under pressure * Gold volatility drop could chase momentum traders * Brazil, Kazakhstan and Turkey raise gold holdings - IMF * Coming up: U.S. markets shut on Thanksgiving holiday Thurs By Frank Tang NEW YORK, Nov 21 (Reuters) - Gold was little changed on Wednesday after trading in a narrow range, caught between recession worries in Europe and the United States and safe-haven bids over concerns about violence in the Middle East. Bullion ended near the top of an $11 daily range as the failure of international lenders to reach a deal to release emergency aid for Greece for a second week. While gold is sometimes viewed as a safe haven in times of financial chaos, most investors used the metal as a hedge against inflation and central-bank money printing. Therefore, the disagreement on a Greek financial bailout decreased the metal's inflation-hedge appeal. The metal was under pressure from data that showed U.S. consumer sentiment inched up, but appeared to be stalling after several months of improvement. Uncertainty also grew over a combination of tax hikes and spending cuts that may come into effect early next year in the United States. Gold looked set to settle into a trading range above $1,700 an ounce after it had risen near its 50-day moving average at $1,741 an ounce several times in the past two weeks. "Unless people see something is going to happen, they are going to get out of gold. A lot of the trading is leveraged trading in futures, and many people don't want to sit around and take big risks," said Miguel Perez-Santalla, a vice president of physical gold dealer BullionVault. Spot gold inched up 0.1 percent to $1,728.94 an ounce by 2:03 p.m. EST (1903 GMT). U.S. COMEX gold futures settled up $4.60 at $1,728.20, with trading volume over 150,000 lots in line with its 30-day average, preliminary Reuters data showed. Implied volatility, a crucial component for an options price measuring the perceived risk of future movement of gold futures, has dropped to around 13 and is at a six-year-low. Low-price volatility could prompt momentum traders to look at other markets and to sell in gold, analysts said. Underpinning gold is tensions in the Middle East even after Israel and the Islamist Hamas movement agreed to an Egyptian-sponsored ceasefire around the Gaza Strip that has killed more than 140 Palestinians and five Israelis. Analysts expect gold to trade within a narrow range for the rest of the week because some trading desks have already shut before the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday. The CME COMEX/ NYMEX floors and the Globex electronic platform will close early on Friday. Silver climbed 0.5 percent to $33.33 an ounce. CENTRAL BANK GOLD RESERVES News that Brazil, Kazakhstan and Turkey had raised their gold holdings also supported bullion. Renewed interest in gold among central banks amid global financial uncertainty has been a key driver to gold prices in recent years. Worries over recession due to tax hikes and spending cuts next year could still weigh on gold. On Tuesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke indicated the Fed did not have the tools to offset the damage that would result if politicians fail to strike a deal to prevent going over the "fiscal cliff." Platinum group metals ignored news that Johnson Matthey , the world's largest maker of catalysts to control car emissions, posted a dip in profits as worries over an outlook dented by lower PGM prices, a volatile U.S. truck market and weakness in Europe sent its shares lower. Platinum was up 0.5 percent to $1,576.49, while palladium rose 2.1 percent to $646.72. 2:03 PM EST LAST/ NET PCT LOW HIGH CURRENT SETTLE CHNG CHNG VOL US Gold DEC 1728.20 4.60 0.3 1718.40 1732.00 116,410 US Silver DEC 33.35 0.420 1.3 32.825 33.395 36,727 US Plat JAN 1583.90 10.90 0.7 1567.10 1584.60 5,515 US Pall DEC 651.30 12.95 2.0 631.10 654.30 4,780 Gold 1728.94 0.90 0.1 1721.50 1731.50 Silver 33.330 0.170 0.5 32.890 33.390 Platinum 1576.49 7.24 0.5 1568.00 1580.00 Palladium 646.72 13.50 2.1 634.52 652.00 TOTAL MARKET VOLUME 30-D ATM VOLATILITY CURRENT 30D AVG 250D AVG CURRENT CHG US Gold 152,734 155,022 175,871 12.71 -0.20 US Silver 52,655 45,813 56,169 20.09 -0.94 US Platinum 5,879 8,957 9,481 18.14 -0.23 US Palladium 6,361 4,169 4,579
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