February 19, 2018 / 11:41 AM / a year ago

PRECIOUS-Gold steady as dollar claws back some losses

    * Analysts say dollar weakness to continue
    * Speculators cut net gold longs in the week to Feb. 13
    * GRAPHIC-2018 asset returns: tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl

 (Updates prices, adds comment)
    By Zandi Shabalala
    LONDON, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Gold prices were down slightly on
Monday as the dollar clawed back some recent losses and stocks
rose, but worries about U.S. inflation kept buyers in the metal.
    Spot gold        was down 0.11 percent at $1,346.31 an ounce
at 1:30 p.m. EST (1830 GMT). U.S. April gold futures       
slipped 0.54 percent to $1,348.90 per ounce.
    Gold rose 2.4 percent last week in its biggest weekly gain
in more than five months.                          
    "Gold is doing relatively well in a risk-on environment. The
safe-haven appeal (in gold) is a bit in question but it has a
lot to do with movements in the dollar which has recovered
somewhat," said ABN AMRO commodity strategist Georgette Boele.
    The dollar index       , which measures the currency against
a basket of currencies, was up 0.1 percent after shedding 1.4
percent last week.
    Investors piled into gold last week on concerns that U.S.
inflation could heat up.
    In wider markets, world stocks extended their recovery on
Monday while oil inched higher.                 
    "The 10-year bonds across the globe are up, so the price of
gold came off a bit on that," said Walter Pehowich, executive
vice president of investment services at Dillon Gage Metals.
    The minutes of the U.S. Federal Reserve's last policy
meeting, held on Jan. 30-31 amid the equities tumble, are due on
Wednesday. Besides the outlook on rates, investors will be keen
to see what the Fed made of the market gyrations.
    On Friday, a 37-page indictment filed by U.S. Special
Counsel Robert Mueller charged 13 Russians and three Russian
companies with meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Russia dismissed the allegations as absurd.              
    Gold is often used as a hedge against geopolitical
    Hedge funds and money managers cut their net long positions
in COMEX gold in the week to Feb. 13, U.S. Commodity Futures
Trading Commission data showed on Friday.             
    Trading is expected to be slower than usual this week due
Lunar New Year celebrations in China. Monday is also a market
holiday in the United States for Presidents Day. 
    SPDR Gold Trust      , the world's largest gold-backed
exchange-traded fund, said its holdings rose 0.39 percent to
824.54 tonnes on Friday.          
    Among other precious metals, silver        was down slightly
at $16.657 an ounce after falling 1.2 percent in the previous
    Platinum        was up 0.25 percent at $1,005.00 an ounce,
after earlier touching its highest in over three weeks at
    Palladium        fell 1.1 percent to $1,033.00 an ounce
after touching its highest in about two weeks earlier in the
    "Palladium has been expensive and overvalued for a long time
now so I could see it go lower from here," ABN AMRO's Boelle

 (Additional reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru and
Julie Gordon in Vancouver; Editing by Louise Heavens, Jane
Merriman and Frances Kerry)
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