February 28, 2018 / 1:45 AM / 3 months ago

PRECIOUS-Gold prices flat, Fed's rate hike outlook weighs

    Feb 28 (Reuters) - Gold prices were unchanged near a more
than two-week low early on Wednesday, as the dollar held recent
highs after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell vowed to
prevent the economy from overheating while sticking with gradual
rate rises.
                   
    FUNDAMENTALS  
    * Spot gold        was flat at $1,317.81 an ounce at 0116
GMT. Prices fell 1.1 percent and had touched an over two-week
session low of $1,313.26 in the previous session.
    * U.S. gold futures         were up 0.1 percent at $1,319
per ounce.
    * The dollar index       , which measures the greenback
against a basket of major currencies, was steady at 90.354.
    * The dollar held near an over two-week high hit in the last
session, while Asian shares faltered and bonds were sold off,
after Powell's upbeat views on the economy bolstered bets on
further Fed interest rate hikes this year.       
                       
    * The Fed is expected to approve its first rate increase of
2018 at its next policy meeting in March, when it will also
provide fresh economic projections and Powell will hold his
first news conference. 
    * The European Central Bank could end bond purchases this
year while an interest rate hike in 2019 is not unrealistic if
the euro zone's economic upswing continues, Bundesbank President
Jens Weidmann said on Tuesday.             
    * China's net gold imports via main conduit Hong Kong surged
65.2 percent in January from the previous month, data showed on
Tuesday.             
    * Gold prices could break above $1,400 an ounce for the
first time since 2013 this year as an uncertain outlook for
stocks, bonds and currencies tempts investors to use the
precious metal as a safe haven, according to a Reuters survey of
analysts.             
    * Ghana will certify the value of gold exports as part of
efforts to tighten controls on the sector to ensure the state
receives the revenues it is due, the vice president said on
Tuesday.             
    * A company owned by Nirav Modi, the billionaire jeweller at
the heart of a $2 billion fraud case in India, has filed for
bankruptcy in a New York court, as investigators stepped up
their investigation into a case that has stunned the country.
            


    DATA AHEAD (IN GMT)
    
    0100  China          Official manufacturing PMI        Feb
    0100  China          Official non-manufacturing PMI    Feb
    0700  Germany        GFK consumer sentiment            Mar
    0745  France         Consumer spending                 Jan
    0745  France         Detailed GDP                      Q4
    0900  Germany        Unemployment rate                 Feb
    1000  Euro zone      Inflation flash                   Feb
    1330  U.S.           GDP second estimate               Q4
    1445  U.S.           Chicago PMI                       Feb
    1500  U.S.           Pending home sales                Jan

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