Gold prices quoted higher in early Asia as India, China demand eyed

Singapore (Mar 4)  Gold prices were quoted steady in early Asia on Wednesday with investors focused on demand prospects in China and India,t he world's two largest importers.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for April delivery were quoted at $1,203.50 a troy ounce, up 0.01%.

Meanwhile, silver futures for May delivery were quoted at $16.267 a troy ounce, up 0.06%.

Elsewhere on the Comex, copper for May delivery was quoted at $2.653 a pound, up 0.04%.

Overnight, prices for gold futures fell precipitously on Tuesday, as the U.S. Dollar Index reached its highest level in more than 11 years.

Prices fell below a seven-week low of $1,195 an ounce during European trading, before rebounding to near $1,215 during early trading on U.S. markets. Gold prices then plunged shortly ahead of Benjamin Netanyahu's address in front of Congress, before remaining steady during the Israeli prime minister's speech.

In China, premiums on the Shanghai Gold Exchange remained $5 per ounce above international gold prices. Chinese premiums are viewed as the key incentive for wholesale imports.

Earlier this week, China cut its benchmark interest rate for the second time in less than four months.

The SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell to 769.49 tons on Tuesday from its prior close of 771.25 tons.

Trading volume remained low on Tuesday, as investors awaited the start of a two-day meeting of European Central Bank policymakers on Wednesday in Cyprus and the release of critical U.S. employment data on Friday.

Analysts have forecast that the U.S. economy added approximately 240,000 jobs for the month of February, down from a gain of 257,000 a month earlier. Analysts also expect that the unemployment rate for the month slightly declined from 5.7% in January to 5.6%.

Source: MoneyControl