July 6, 2018 / 1:28 AM / 11 days ago

PRECIOUS-Gold prices steady after Fed minutes

    BENGALURU, July 6 (Reuters) - Gold prices were largely
unchanged on Friday as the dollar inched down and after minutes
of the U.S. Federal Reserve June policy meeting were in line
with market expectations for further interest rate increases
this year.  
    Market participants were also keeping a close eye on
festering trade conflict between the United States and China,
ahead of a U.S. deadline to impose tariffs on Chinese imports on
Friday. U.S. jobs data later in the day was in focus as well.
    
    FUNDAMENTALS  
    * Spot gold        was little changed at $1,257.24 an ounce
at 0045 GMT. The metal was headed for its first weekly rise in
four, up 0.3 percent for the week. 
    * U.S. gold futures         for August delivery were
0.04-percent lower at $1,258.30 an ounce.
    * The dollar index        , which measures the greenback
against a basket of six major currencies, was down 0.1 percent
at 94.371. In the previous session, it slipped to its lowest
since June 26 at 94.177.       
    * U.S. central bankers discussed whether recession lurked
around the corner and expressed concerns global trade tensions
could hit an economy that by most measures looked strong,
minutes of the Federal Reserve's last policy meeting on June
12-13 released on Thursday showed. 
    * The minutes, which described a meeting in which the Fed
raised interest rates for the second time this year, also
suggested policymakers might soon signal the central bank's
rate-hiking cycle was advanced enough that policy was no longer
boosting or constraining the economy.             
    * President Donald Trump said on Thursday the United States
may ultimately impose tariffs on more than a half-trillion
dollars' worth of Chinese goods as the world's two largest
economies hurtled toward the start of a trade war.             
    * The United States is due to begin collecting tariffs on
$34 billion in Chinese goods at 0401 GMT on Friday.
    * Investors watching the trade tit-for-tat between the U.S.
and China may well have reason to fear the havoc a full blown
conflict between the world's two biggest economies could wreak
on the global economy.             
    * U.S. services sector activity picked up in June amid
strong growth in new orders, but trade tariffs and a shortage of
workers were starting to strain the supply chain, which could
slow momentum in the coming months.             
    * German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday she would
back lowering European Union tariffs on U.S. car imports,
responding to an offer from Washington to abandon threatened
levies on European cars in return for concessions.             
    * Japan's banks should adapt to the challenges of a
declining population and the rise of financial technology, with
the discussion of these structural problems kept separate from
monetary policy, a Bank of Japan board member said on Thursday.
            
    
    DATA AHEAD (GMT)
    
    0600  Germany    Industrial output       May
    0645  France     Trade balance           May
    1230  U.S.       Nonfarm payrolls        June
    1230  U.S.       Unemployment rate       June
    1230  U.S.       International trade     May
    

 (Reporting by Karen Rodrigues in Bengaluru
Editing by Joseph Radford)
  
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