August 9, 2019 / 1:59 AM / 15 days ago

PRECIOUS-Gold firms above $1,500/oz, on track for second weekly rise

Aug 9 (Reuters) - Gold prices rose on Friday, holding above the key $1,500 per ounce pivot, as fresh concerns about the U.S.-China trade dispute and worries over global economic slowdown lifted demand for the safe-haven metal.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Spot gold was up 0.3% at $1,504.22 per ounce as of 0124 GMT.

* The metal has risen more than 4% so far this week, putting it on track for its second consecutive weekly gain.

* U.S. gold futures rose 0.4% to $1,515.10 an ounce.

* Trade tensions between the United States and China further escalated after a report that Washington is delaying a decision about licenses for U.S. firms to restart trade with Huawei Technologies..,

* Meanwhile, U.S. economic data pointed to a robust labour market as the number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week, allaying some worries about the potential for a recession and helping U.S. Treasury yields rise.

* Central banks in New Zealand, Thailand and India stunned financial markets on Wednesday with a series of surprising interest rate cuts and pointing to policymakers’ dwindling ammunition to fight off a downturn.

* On Thursday, the Philippine central bank joined the bandwagon and cut its key policy rates, whilst keeping the door open for further easing.

* The dollar index was down 0.1% and was heading for its first weekly decline in four.

* SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings fell 0.66% to 839.85 tonnes on Thursday from 845.42 tonnes on Wednesday.

* Barrick Gold Corp, is looking to sell its Tongon gold mine in the Ivory Coast and is working with Bank of Nova Scotia to identify buyers, Bloomberg said on Thursday.

DATA AHEAD (GMT)

* 0130 China PPI YY July

* 0130 China CPI YY July

* 0830 UK Manufacturing Output MM June

* 0830 UK GDP Prelim QQ, YY Q2

* N/A China M2 Money Supply YY July

Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V

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