March 19, 2018 / 1:30 AM / 6 months ago

PRECIOUS-Gold prices edge lower on firmer dollar ahead of Fed meet

    March 19 (Reuters) - Gold prices inched lower early Monday
as the dollar remained supported, with investors expecting the
U.S. Federal Reserve to raise interest rates at this week's
policy meeting.

    FUNDAMENTALS  
    * Spot gold        fell 0.2 percent to $1,310.31 per ounce
at 0123 GMT. The price touched $1,309.31, the lowest since March
1, in the previous session.
    * U.S. gold futures         for April delivery fell 0.1
percent to $1,310.4 per ounce.
    * The dollar index        against a basket of currencies was
 up 0.1 percent at 90.295.
    * Asian share markets got off to a hesitant start on Monday
for a week in which the Fed is likely to deliver a hike in U.S.
interest rates and perhaps signal that as many as three more lie
in store for the rest of the year.            
    * The two-day Federal Open Market Committee meeting begins
on Tuesday at which the U.S. central bank is expected to raise
interest rates for the first time this year.             
    * U.S. industrial production jumped 1.1 percent in February,
the largest increase in four months, due to a weather-related
rebound in construction and a rise in output from the nation's
oil and gas fields and mines.             
    * Forty-five U.S. trade associations representing some of
the largest companies in the country are urging President Donald
Trump not to impose tariffs on China, warning it would be
"particularly harmful" to the U.S. economy and consumers.
            
    * French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor
Angela Merkel on Friday pledged to overcome differences in order
to formulate a roadmap for a reform of the euro zone which they
will seek to get approved by their European peers in June.
            
    * Three European Central Bank policymakers struck an
optimistic tone on the outlook for euro zone inflation on Sunday
despite stubbornly slow price growth so far this year.
            
    * Gold speculators cut their net long position by 16,153
contracts to 145,659 contracts, according to the U.S. Commodity
Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) data.             
    * Weaker demand in India prompted gold dealers to offer
discounts for a second straight week, as a drop in local prices
to 2-week lows and a festival failed to lure buyers.
            
    
    DATA AHEAD (GMT)
    
    0130  China              House prices               Feb
    1000  Euro zone          Eurostat trade             Jan

 (Reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru; editing by Richard
Pullin)
  
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