With gold prices hitting a fresh three-month high in the global market, the precious metal is set to rule firm in the domestic spot and futures market on Monday.

The yellow metal gained further on Monday morning as investors seek haven after US economic growth stuttered in January and the dollar weakened.

US manufacturing data

During the week-end, data showed that the manufacturing sector in the US dropped in January - the most since May 2009. The drop was in view of the cold snap sweeping across the US, and continuing still, disrupting factory activities.

Easing curbs on gold imports

There could be further boosting factors for gold if Indian Finance Minister P Chidambaram announces measures to ease the curbs on gold imports during the presentation of the vote-on-account mid-day Monday.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi has pitched for easing the curbs and the Finance Minister is likely to oblige, given the fact that elections are just weeks away.

Holdings in SPDR Trust

The other booster for the yellow metal has been hedge fund Paulson and Co maintaining its steak in SPDR Trust, the world’s biggest exchange traded fund backed by gold holdings. The trust’s holdings, however, fell to 801.25 tonnes during the week-end.

On the other hand, hedge funds and money managers have raised their wagers on gold futures.

In the Indian context, the rupee’s movement against the dollar will have some significance since a weak US currency makes import of gold, crude oil and vegetable oil cheaper.

Spot gold, gold futures

By mid-day in Asia, spot gold in Singapore rose to $1,327.13 an ounce and gold futures maturing for delivery in April to $1,327.20.

On NCDEX, spot gold prices had ended at Rs 30,260 for 10 gm during the week-end. On MCX and NCDEX, gold April contracts are likely to top Rs 29,500.

US crude stockpiles

Hopes of economic recovery and lower stockpiles in the US are likely to keep crude oil prices firm.

Brent crude ruled at $108.97 a barrel and US crude at $100.53.

Oils & oilseeds

A fall in oilmeal prices and conducive weather in Brazil for the soyabean crop are likely keep oils and oilseed prices on leash.

Soyabean contracts maturing for delivery in May were down at $13.25 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade. Crude palm oil May contracts on Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange opened lower at 2,652 ringgit or $805 a tonne.

Corn, wheat futures

Higher US sales and forecast of lower Argentina crop could buoy corn (industrial maize) prices. Wheat, on the other hand, are likely to rule firm on US export enquiries and India pegging its crop estimate below 100 million tonnes.

CBOT corn for delivery in May was up at $4.50 a bushel. Wheat contracts maturing for delivery the same month ruled at $5.96 a bushel.