Gold prices up a tad in early Asia as Greece reform proposals eyed

Shanghai-China (Feb 24)  Gold prices rose slightly in early Asia on Tuesday with China markets set to re-open on Wednesday and Greece still to turn over its lisst of reforms needed to secure further euro zone loans.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for April delivery rose 0.14% to trade at $1,203.10.

Meanwhile, silver futures for March delivery gained 0.18% to trade at $16.360 a troy ounce.

Elsewhere on the Comex, copper for March delivery was flat at $2.589 a pound in holiday-thinned trade.

Markets in the world's biggest copper consumer, China, will remain closed until February 24 for the Lunar New Year holiday, removing a key support for prices.

The Asian nation is the world's largest copper consumer, accounting for almost 40% of world consumption last year.

Overnight, gGold futures turned higher on Monday to reclaim the key $1,200-level, after data showed that U.S. existing home sales fell more than expected in January to hit the lowest level in nine months, dampening optimism over the health of the housing market.

The National Association of Realtors said earlier that existing home sales decreased 4.9% to 4.82 million units last month from 5.07 million in December. Analysts had expected existing home sales to fall 0.8% to 4.97 million units in January.

Investors now looked ahead to testimony from Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen to the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday for any indication on when U.S. interest rates may start to rise.

Gold has been under pressure in recent weeks amid ongoing expectations for the Federal Reserve to start raising interest rates later this year.

Expectations of higher borrowing rates going forward is considered bearish for gold, as the precious metal struggles to compete with yield-bearing assets when rates are on the rise.

As well, Prices were at seven-week lows earlier after euro zone finance ministers approved the extension of Greece's €240 billion bailout by four months on Friday, removing concerns that the country would face a liquidity crunch when its current bailout agreement expired at the end of the month.

Athens on Monday was scheduled to present a list of reforms to be approved by the country's creditors, but delayed the process until Tuesday, Reuters reported.

Greece will present its economic reform plans to the euro zone on Tuesday, a government official said.

The official gave no reason for the delay but said euro zone finance ministers would consider Greece's plans, which include a crackdown on tax evasion and corruption, as scheduled on Tuesday afternoon.

In Brussels a euro zone official said the "content of the letter will not be a surprise" to the euro zone and therefore the Tuesday submission was not a major issue. Greece has said it was working closely with its euro zone partners in drawing up the list.

Source: MoneyControl