Gold Gains With Central Bank Meetings On Tap

Gold futures gained on Thursday, ahead of two central bank meetings in Europe that could see support for policy easing to spur economic growth.

Gold for delivery in April  rose $8.30 to $1,583.20 an ounce in electronic trading hours Thursday.

The precious metal ended little changed in New York Wednesday, ahead of the policy meetings at the European Central Bank and the Bank of England. Read: Gold finishes flat after a two-session climb.

After the Comex trading session ended Wednesday, the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book showed that government fiscal and health-care policies are holding back private spending and hiring. It had been expected to show that the economy limped along in early 2013.

“The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), earlier in the year, said that substantial improvements in the labor market would be necessary to either slow or stop the quantitative easing (QE) program,” said metal analysts at HSBC.

“The bullion market may interpret the Beige Book’s report of the economy growing at a ‘modest to moderate pace’ as insufficient evidence for the Fed to stop QE, in our view. This is positive for bullion prices, as bullion had declines recently on concerns that the Fed may rein in QE,” they said.

Decisions at other central banks, which could also potentially support gold prices, were also in focus.

The Bank of Japan kicked off by leaving its monetary policy on hold, as widely expected ahead of a leadership handover set to take place later this month.

For the Bank of England, further policy easing “is a close call,” said strategists at Credit Agricole, who added “there is also an outside chance that the ECB will cut policy rate by 25 basis points.” The strategists expect no change at both meetings.

The ICE dollar index  was at 82.484, from 82.490 in late North American trading on Wednesday, providing broad support for the metals complex.

May silver  advanced 13 cents to $28.93 an ounce, while copper for delivery in May  rose 1 cent to $3.50 a pound.

April platinum  advanced $15.20 to $1,595.00 an ounce and June palladium  climbed $6.55 to $746.60 an ounce.