Gold Steady Above $1,200, but Tapering Worries Remain

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December 23, 2013 2:54 PM EST

Gold ticked up Monday after its biggest weekly loss in a month, but the metal was still at the risk of falling back below $1,200 an ounce as investors fretted over the impact of a U.S. stimulus tapering.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Spot gold edged up 0.1 percent to $1,203.91 an ounce by 0018 GMT. It rose 1 percent on Friday on short covering after losing 4 percent in the previous three sessions.

* Gold fell 3 percent last week after the Fed said the U.S. economy was strong enough to scale back its massive bond-buying stimulus, winding down an era of easy money that saw gold rally to an all-time high of $1,920.30 an ounce in 2011.

* Gold has fallen nearly 30 percent this year as a scale back of stimulus hurts its inflation-hedge appeal.

* Hedge fund managers cut their bullish bets on gold only modestly this week before the first-ever tapering of the U.S. monetary stimulus sent the precious metal's price to six-month lows, data released on Friday showed.

* SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings rose 5.40 tonnes to 814.12 tonnes on Friday.

* The volume of gold transferred between accounts held by bullion clearers rose by 22 percent to an average of 24.2 million ounces a day, the London Bullion Market Association said.

MARKET NEWS

* Asian markets inched cautiously higher on Monday encouraged by record highs for Wall Street, though anxiety over a credit squeeze in China has weighed on shares there while adding to pressure on emerging market currencies.

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