Gold is set to rule flat in the domestic spot and futures market but the market could come under pressure if a slew of US data expected later this evening show further impetus in economic growth.

Last night, data showed that consumer spending in the US was up in November, the highest in five months. Sentiments among consumers were also the best in the last five months.

Key US data

US weekly mortgage market index, chain store sales, durable goods orders and new home sales will give a clear indication in which way the economy, particularly in the US, is headed.

Investors’ nervousness was evident in the cash out that was seen last night from gold exchange-traded funds. Gold holdings in SPDR Trust, the world’s biggest, dropped by nearly nine tonnes to 805.72 tonnes. Bearish bets on gold have also been raised by money managers.

Spot gold, gold futures

In early Asian trade, spot gold was well below $1,200 an ounce at $1,198.44. Gold futures for February contracts ruled at $1,197.80.

Spot NCDEX gold (Mumbai delivery) ended lower on Monday at Rs 29,500 for 10 gm. On MCX and NCDEX, gold futures maturing for delivery in February could slip below Rs 28,500.

Crude oil rally

Crude oil prices are likely to drop on bets that the current rally is unsustainable. Also, higher crude price could dampen the demand.

Brent crude for February contracts ruled at $111.51 a barrel and US crude at $98.65.

Oils & oilseeds

Oils and oilseeds market will likely come under pressure on better weather prospects in Argentina. Rains are likely to lash the soyabean growing areas, according to some weather models, easing concerns over the standing crop.

Some weakness in the meal market is also putting pressure on the market.

Chicago Board of Trade soyabean contracts maturing for delivery in March fell to $13.17 a bushel. Crude palm oil March contracts opened higher on Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange at 2,618 ringgit or $795 a tonne.

Higher exports, short-covering

Higher exports of corn (industrial maize) from the US and short-covering are likely to drive its prices. Wheat, on the other hand, could head lower with Ukraine reporting better prospects for its crop.

CBOT corn for delivery in March quoted at $4.32 a bushel but March contracts from the same month declined to $6.09 a bushel.