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PRECIOUS-Safe-haven bids buoy gold as oil slides on failure to freeze output

SINGAPORE, April 18 (Reuters) - Gold rose on Monday as oil
producers' failure to agree on an output freeze sent crude
prices and equities tumbling, stoking safe haven demand for
bullion.
    
    FUNDAMENTALS
    * Spot gold rose 0.3 percent to $1,237.60 an ounce by
0036 GMT. U.S. gold futures climbed 0.4 percent to
$1,239.70.
    * A deal to freeze oil output by OPEC and non-OPEC producers
fell apart on Sunday after Saudi Arabia demanded that Iran join
in despite calls on Riyadh to save the agreement and help prop
up crude prices. 
    * U.S. crude futures slid as much as 6.8 percent to
$37.61 a barrel, while Brent futures dropped 7 percent
to $40.10 a barrel. 
    * Commodity currencies slumped early on Monday while the
safe-haven yen soared after the disappointing weekend meeting at
Doha. Asian shares dropped on Monday dragged down by tumbling
crude oil futures.  
    * Gold prices had posted a weekly loss on Friday as equities
and oil gained on upbeat Chinese economic data and optimism over
the Doha meeting.
    * Gold prices have steadied after posting their biggest
quarterly rise in nearly 30 years in the three months to March,
driven by a retreat on expectations that the U.S. Federal
Reserve will push ahead with several rate hikes this year.
    * The Fed is unlikely to raise U.S. interest rates when it
meets later this month but seems to be on track for at least two
increases over the rest of the year, Chicago Fed President
Charles Evans said on Friday. 
    * Hedge funds and money managers raised their bullish bets
on gold and silver in the week to April 12, U.S. Commodity
Futures Trading Commission data showed on Friday. 
    * SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed
exchange-traded fund, said its holdings rose 0.70 percent to
812.46 tonnes on Friday. 
    * Silver's value relative to gold surged by the most in
2-1/2 years last week as the metal jumped to its highest since
late October. 
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    DATA AHEAD (GMT)
    0130 China House prices Mar 
    1400 U.S. NAHB housing market index Apr

    PRICES AT 0036 GMT
 Metal             Last     Change    Pct chg
                                              
 Spot gold          1237.6         4      0.32
 Spot silver        16.232     0.022      0.14
 Spot platinum       980.4      -1.6     -0.16
 Spot palladium      565.5         0         0
 Comex gold         1239.7       5.1      0.41
 Comex silver        16.25    -0.063     -0.39
                                              
 COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most
 active months
 
 (Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi; Editing by Richard Pullin)
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