Physical buying, especially for the marriage season, will keep gold prices steady in the domestic spot and futures market on Friday.
However, every data release showing growth in economy could put pressure on the yellow metal as the US Federal Reserve could speed up winding its stimulus package.
A decision on the package, cut to $75 billion from $85 billion this month, is likely during the Fed meeting during January 28-29.
Hedge against inflation
Overnight, hedge against inflation was used as a reason to keep gold steady. US data showed that jobless claims decreased, while factory data showed better output. All these were higher than what had been estimated.
The one bright spot for the bulls has been volumes on Shanghai Exchange being higher throughout this week.
In the domestic market, currency movement, too, could have a minor part to play since a weak rupee against the dollar makes imports of gold, crude oil and vegetable oils costlier.
Spot gold, gold futures
In early trading in Asia, spot gold ruled higher at $1,243.93 an ounce and gold futures for February contract at $1,243.40.
On Thursday, NCDEX spot gold had closed higher at Rs 29,470 for 10 gm. On MCX and NCDEX, gold February futures are likely to trade around Rs 29,000.
With the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries projecting the demand dropping by three lakh barrels a day, crude oil prices are set to face pressure.
Brent crude March contracts dropped to $105.47 a barrel and US crude February contracts to $93.96.
Oils and oilseeds market will be range-bound with various factors pulling the market either side. Higher imports of US soyabean by China are being negated by prospects of rain in soyabean growing areas in Argentina.
Oils & oilseeds
Chicago Board of Trade soyabean March contracts fell to $13.12 a bushel in early Asian trade. Crude palm oil on Bursa Malaysia Derivatives opened higher at 2,544 ringgit or $772 a tonne.
Wheat and corn (industrial maize) prices will gain on short-covering by funds and demand for exports from the US.
CBOT wheat futures for March contract were up at $5.73 a bushel and corn contracts for the same month at $4.27 a bushel.