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PRECIOUS-Gold hits three-week high on fading U.S. rate hike prospects

BENGALURU, June 9 (Reuters) - Gold hit a fresh three week
high early Thursday, after jumping 1.5 percent overnight, helped
by a weaker dollar and diminishing expectations of an interest
rate hike by the U.S. Federal Reserve at its meeting next week. 
   
    
    FUNDAMENTALS
    * Spot gold was nearly flat at $1,262.26 an ounce by
0054 GMT, having earlier hit $1,266.01, its best since May 18. 
    * The safe haven asset, which climbed about 1.5 percent on
Wednesday, has gained about 19 percent in 2016 so far. 
    * U.S. gold rose 0.2 percent to $1,265.20
    * The dollar index inched 0.1 percent lower to 93.511
, not far from a five-week low of 93.425 plumbed on
Wednesday. 
    * Signs are emerging that a downturn in the United States
and China, the world's two biggest economies, may have bottomed
out, the OECD's monthly leading indicator showed on Wednesday.
 
    * Japan's core machinery orders tumbled 11.0 percent in
April from the previous month, Cabinet Office data showed on
Thursday, in a sign that business investment is contracting.
 
    * Russia produced 67.75 tonnes of gold in January-April
2016, up from 63.27 tonnes in the same period last year, the
finance ministry said in a statement on Wednesday. 
    * For the first time in five years, Barrick Gold 
and other bullion miners are getting ready to expand, breaking
from their monologue on cutting costs and debt because of
tumbling gold prices. 
    * Workers belonging to the major union at South Africa's
Northam Platinum said on Wednesday they would not
resume work at its Zondereinde mine until arrests were made for
a spate of murders. 
    * For the top stories on metals and other news, click
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    MARKET REPORT
    * Asian stocks edged up on Thursday after Wall Street gained
overnight, while a weaker dollar buoyed commodities such as gold
and crude oil. 
    * Crude futures rose on Wednesday, hitting 2016 highs above
$50 a barrel and settling up for a third straight day on worries
about sabotage of oil facilities in Nigeria, although a build in
U.S. gasoline stocks amid peak summer demand could pressure
prices. 
    
    DATA AHEAD (GMT)
    0130  China consumer prices        May 
    0130  China producer prices        May 
    0600  Germany trade data           Apr 
    1230  U.S. weekly jobless claims 
    1400  U.S. wholesale inventories   Apr 
    

 (Reporting by Vijaykumar Vedala in Bengaluru; Editing by
Richard Pullin)
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