February 12, 2018 / 1:25 AM / 7 months ago

PRECIOUS-Gold edges up as dollar eases; eyes on US inflation data

    Feb 12 (Reuters) - Gold prices edged up early on Monday as
the dollar eased a touch after last week's rally and investors
waited for more data on U.S. inflation amid expectations of
rising interest rates.
    
    FUNDAMENTALS  
    * Spot gold        was up 0.3 percent at $1,320.19 an ounce,
as of 0111 GMT. Prices touched their lowest since Jan. 4 at
$1,306.81 last week
    * Spot gold fell 1.2 percent last week, recording its second
straight weekly loss.
    * U.S. gold futures         were up 0.5 percent at $1,321.70
per ounce on Monday.
    * Asian share markets were struggling to find their footing
on Monday as investors fretted about the risks from looming U.S.
inflation data, although early gains on S&P futures offered a
sliver of support.             
    * The benchmark S&P 500        fell 5.2 percent last week,
its biggest decline since January 2016. Ninety-six S&P 500
stocks were down 20 percent or more from their own one-year
highs, according to Thomson Reuters data.
    * Investors will be watching for U.S. consumer price data on
Wednesday given it was fears of faster inflation, and thus more
aggressive rate rises, that triggered the global rout in the
first place.             
    * Inflation worries generally boost gold, which is seen as a
safe haven against rising prices. But expectations that the Fed
will raise interest rates to fight inflation make gold less
attractive because it does not pay interest.
    * Last week, the dollar recorded its strongest week against
the currency basket in nearly 15 months as some traders closed
out dollar-bearish bets, while others favoured the dollar in a
safe-haven move to exit over higher-returning but riskier
currencies.       
    * The dollar index       , which measures the greenback
against a basket of currencies, eased 0.2 percent to 90.291
       after gaining 1.4 percent last week. 
    * Hedge funds and money managers slashed their net long
position in COMEX gold for the first time in eight weeks in the
week to Feb. 6, and cut it in silver, U.S. Commodity Futures
Trading Commission data showed on Friday.        
    * Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust GLD, the world's largest
gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell 0.68 percent to 820.71
tonnes on Friday from 826.31 tonnes on Thursday.          
    * Physical gold demand in Asia picked up towards the end of
the week, as a pullback in prices spurred purchases ahead of the
Lunar New Year in China and the wedding season in India.
            

 (Reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; editing by
Richard Pullin)
  
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