December 8, 2017 / 1:24 AM / a year ago

PRECIOUS-Gold inches up after slumping to over 4-mth low

    Dec 8 (Reuters) - Gold edged up in early Asian trade on
Friday, after dropping below its recent trading range to hit a
more than four-month  low overnight. 
    * Spot gold        was up nearly 0.2 percent at $1,248.29 an
ounce by 0102 GMT, after hitting its lowest since July 26 at
$1,243.71 on Thursday.    
    * U.S. gold futures         were 0.2 percent lower at
    * The dollar inched higher on Friday, on track for a weekly
gain against a basket of currencies, as the passage of a bill to
temporarily extend U.S. government funding raised investors'
optimism that a tax reform bill would also pass.       
    * Two U.S. B-1B heavy bombers joined large-scale combat
drills over South Korea on Thursday amid warnings from North
Korea that the exercises and U.S. threats have made the outbreak
of war "an established fact."             
    * The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits
unexpectedly fell last week, suggesting a rapid tightening of
the labor market that bolsters expectations the Federal Reserve
will raise interest rates next week.              
    * The Islamist group Hamas urged Palestinians on Thursday to
abandon peace efforts and launch a new uprising against Israel
in response to U.S. President Donald Trump's recognition of
Jerusalem as its capital.             
    * Bitcoin rocketed to a lifetime high just shy of $16,000
after climbing some 60 percent over one week, intensifying the
debate about whether the cryptocurrency is in a bubble about to
    * Euro zone governments could issue more bonds next year
than the European Central Bank is likely to buy for the first
time since before the central bank launched its massive stimulus
to boost growth and inflation in the single currency bloc.
    * Japan's central bank governor said on Thursday changes in
the economy and financial system could trigger a hike in the
bank's yield targets, a key monetary policy lever, offering the
strongest signal to date it may edge away from crisis-mode
    * SPDR Gold Trust      , the world's largest gold-backed
exchange-traded fund, said its holdings fell 0.31 percent to
842.81 tonnes on Thursday from 845.47 tonnes on Wednesday.
    * Demand for physical gold picked up slightly in most Asian
centres this week as prices fell, but a drop in local rates to
four-month lows failed to lure buyers in India even amidst the
key wedding season.                 

    *     China         Trade data                       Nov
    0700  Germany       Trade data                       Oct
    0745  France        Industrial output                Oct
    1330  U.S.          Nonfarm payrolls                 Nov
    1330  U.S.          Unemployment rate                Nov
    1500  U.S.          Univ of Michigan sentiment index Dec
    1500  U.S.          Wholesale sales                  Oct
    *No fixed timing

 (Reporting by Apeksha Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Biju
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