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PRECIOUS-Gold eyes second straight weekly fall as U.S. yields gain

    Feb 26 (Reuters) - Gold prices hit their lowest in a week on
Friday and headed for a second straight weekly decline as higher
U.S. Treasury yields sapped the appeal of non-yielding bullion.
            
    FUNDAMENTALS
    * Spot gold        was steady at $1,770.15 per ounce by 0046
GMT, having earlier fallen to its lowest since Feb. 19 at
$1,764.90. Prices were down 0.6% for the week so far.
    * U.S. gold futures        fell 0.5% to $1,767.10.
    * Gold dropped 1.9% on Thursday as rising economic
expectations and inflation concerns vaulted benchmark U.S.
Treasury yields to their highest since the pandemic began,
helping lift the dollar.            
    * Higher yields increase the opportunity cost of holding
gold, which pays no interest.
    * Federal Reserve policymakers are shrugging off the surge
in longer-term U.S. government bond yields as a sign of growing
optimism about the economy, which could pick up steam as more
people are vaccinated against COVID-19.            
    * U.S. jobless claims fell last week, suggesting the labor
market was slowly regaining traction.             
    * Robust fiscal support and vaccinations could lead the
United States to its strongest growth in decades, New York Fed
President John Williams said on Thursday.            
    * China's net gold imports via Hong Kong fell in January as
COVID-19-related restrictions reduced demand in the run-up to
the Lunar New Year holiday.             
    * Holdings in the world's largest gold-backed
exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Trust       fell 0.6% on
Thursday.         
    * Silver        gained 0.3% to $27.49 an ounce, while
palladium        was steady at $2,400.43. Platinum        rose
0.1% to $1,217.93 and was set to mark its worst week since
end-October with a 4.4% decline.    
    
DATA/EVENTS (GMT)
0745  France  GDP QQ Final              Q4
0745  France  CPI (EU Norm) Prelim YY   Feb
1200  India   GDP Quarterly YY          Q3
1330  US      Consumption, Adjusted MM  Jan
1500  US      U Mich Sentiment Final    Feb

 (Reporting by Sumita Layek in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika
Syamnath)
  
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