October 18, 2018 / 1:32 AM / a month ago

PRECIOUS-Gold holds steady amid firmer dollar

BENGALURU, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Gold prices held steady early Thursday, after dipping in the previous session on a firmer dollar after minutes of the Federal Reserve’s September meeting reinforced expectations of a tighter U.S. monetary policy.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Spot gold was up 0.1 percent at $1,223.13 an ounce at 0107 GMT. On Monday, it touched its highest since July 26 at $1,233.26 an ounce.

* U.S. gold futures were down 0.1 percent at $1,226.40 an ounce.

* The dollar traded stronger versus its major peers on Thursday after minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve’s September meeting affirmed expectations that the central bank is likely to continue raising interest rates this year.

* Fed policymakers are largely united on the need to raise borrowing costs further, minutes from their most recent policy meeting show, despite U.S. President Donald Trump’s view that interest rate hikes have already gone too far.

* White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow said on Wednesday that Trump was not demanding a policy change after heaping more criticism on the Fed on Tuesday, when he called rising U.S. interest rates his “biggest threat.”

* Trump said on Wednesday he did not want to abandon close ally Saudi Arabia over the disappearance of a Saudi journalist and government critic, and he needed to see evidence to prove Turkish claims he was killed by Saudi agents.

* U.S. homebuilding dropped more than expected in September as construction activity in the South fell by the most in nearly three years, likely held down by Hurricane Florence.

* Asian stocks edged lower on Thursday, with MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan down 0.3 percent.

* China’s new bank loans rebounded in September after dipping in the two previous months, central bank data showed, but overall credit conditions stayed tight in an economy chilled by an ongoing tariff war with the United States.

* British Prime Minister Theresa May assured EU leaders in Brussels on Wednesday that she can still reach a Brexit deal, avoiding a showdown over stalled talks as Brussels stepped up planning for a failure of negotiations.

* The commissioner for the EU budget, Guenther Oettinger, on Wednesday denied a media report saying the EU Commission had already decided to reject Italy’s draft budget for next year.

DATA/EVENT AHEAD (GMT)

0600 Germany Wholesale price index Sep

0830 UK Retail sales Sep

1230 U.S. Weekly jobless claims

1230 U.S. Philly Fed business index Oct

1400 U.S. Leading index Sep (Reporting by Vijaykumar Vedala in Bengaluru; editing by Richard Pullin)

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