Gold little changed ahead of US data

Gold was little changed on Tuesday trading ahead of the release of US data today and later in the week which will determine the strength of the US economy and thereby the need to continue with QE2.

Now, eyes are on US data to know the market's next direction; the recent data from the world's leading economy has been showing progress where yesterday for instance personal spending rose above estimates of 0.5% to 0.7% in February, while pending home sales advanced 2.1% in February, exceeding forecasts of 0.7%.

Last week, US annualized 4q GDP beat forecasts of 2.8% as it reached 3.1% and unemployment dropped to 8.9% in February.

Today, consumer confidence is set to decline to 65.4 in March from 70.4 in February, where the main highlight of the week will be on Friday with the release of the infamous noon-farm payrolls report.

The improvement in data may increase the likelihood of seeing a halt in the stimulus program which is weakening the dollar and giving a boost to gold as an inflation hedge.

The US dollar fell for the third day against a basket of major currencies to touch a low of 75.95 compared with the day's opening of 76.17, according to the dollar index gauge.

On the other hand, the euro advanced on speculations the ECB will increase interest rate next week.

Gold prices fell today to trade at $1419.66 after recording a high of $1422.70 and a low of $1416.60.

The previous session, gold shed $9.30 or 0.65% after closing at $1420.07, while gold price was setin London at $1417.00 per ounce declining from $1420.00 during the AM fixing.

Gold was affected by the drop in oil prices, which helped gold to rise to record high this month, as it retreated to a low of $103.17 a barrel today from the day's starting level of $103.82.

Among other precious metals, platinum soared to $1742.00 from the day's opening of $1738.20, palladium inched up to $742.50 from $740.20 and silver is traded around the day's opening at $36.95, as of 07:00 GMT.