Goudprijs in afwachting van stimuleringsmaatregelen economie.....
Gold hovered above $1,600 an ounce on Thursday as investors continued to hope central banks would take further steps to boost the global economy, even as recent U.S. data suggested the Federal Reserve may not need to intervene for now.
The precious metal has been trapped in a $100-trading range since mid-May, with a lack of clarity on possible steps from the Fed keeping many traders on the sidelines, curbing bullion's year-to-date gain at around 2 percent.
Global gold demand fell to its lowest in more than two years in the second quarter as a drop in buying from major consumers India and China outweighed a record quarter for central bank purchases, the World Gold Council said.
Further monetary easing would boost interest in gold, seen as an effective hedge against rampant cash-printing and consequently, rising prices.
Wednesday's batch of U.S. data added to the uncertainty over stimulus. While consumer inflation remained tepid, giving the Fed room to ease policy further, improved home-builder sentiment and industrial production led some economists to doubt the necessity of another round of bond purchases.
"(Further Fed quantitative easing has) become unlikely in the short term, as the string of negative economic surprises seem to have come to an end," Credit Suisse analysts wrote in a research note.
"What counts at the moment is the 'real' economy and while certainly far from booming, this does not appear weak enough for the Fed to act."
Spot gold was little changed at $1,602.34 an ounce by 0632 GMT, off a 1-1/2 week low of $1,589.69 hit in the previous session.
U.S. gold futures for December delivery had also barely moved at $1,605.10.
Later in the day, investors will seek trading cues from more data, including U.S. housing starts and weekly jobless claims.
SPRING INTO ACTION?
Traders said the uncertainty on if and how central banks will further ease monetary policy and concerns about the global economy overall may keep sentiment in gold markets muted for now.
"I don't see gold demand jumping any time soon because no one knows how the euro zone is going to solve their debt problem, and people are worried that China and India are both slowing down," said Dick Poon, manager of precious metals at Heraeus in Hong Kong.
Some traders expect market activity to pick up in September, when many return from their summer holidays and the Fed's policy-setting panel is scheduled to meet.
"We hope the market will spring into action next month, as fabrication demand rises ahead of the Christmas and Lunar New Year holidays," said a Shanghai-based trader.
Spot silver was nearly flat at $27.78, after abandoning the key $28 level earlier in the week.
Spot platinum inched up 0.3 percent to $1,394.24, while spot palladium climbed 0.6 percent to $575.47.
By Rujun Shen