May 17, 2018 / 1:12 AM / 5 days ago

PRECIOUS-Gold prices steady as dollar hovers below 2018-peak

    BENGALURU, May 17 (Reuters) - Gold prices were mostly steady
on Thursday after touching their lowest level this year in the
previous session, with the U.S. dollar hovering below its
2018-peak.
        
    FUNDAMENTALS  
    * Spot gold        was nearly unchanged at $1,290.64 per
ounce at 0038 GMT, after marking its lowest since Dec. 27 in the
previous session at $1,286.20.
    * U.S. gold futures         for June delivery were down 0.1
percent at $1,290.10 per ounce.
    * The dollar index       , which measures the greenback
against a basket of six major currencies, eased 0.1 percent to
93.315, after hitting the highest level for the year in the last
session.
    * U.S. President Donald Trump acknowledged on Wednesday it
was unclear if his summit with North Korea would go ahead after
Pyongyang threatened to pull out of the unprecedented meeting, a
move that could deny him a potentially major foreign policy
achievement.             
    * The United States and China launch trade talks on Thursday
in a bid to avert a damaging tariff war, with the White House's
harshest China critic relegated to a supporting role, senior
Trump administration officials said on Wednesday.             
    * The United States and Gulf partners imposed additional
sanctions on Lebanon's Hezbollah leadership on Wednesday,
targeting its top two officials, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah and
Naim Qassem.             
    * European leaders sought unity on Wednesday towards
threatened U.S. import tariffs on steel and aluminium, balancing
the views of those most fearful of a trade war and those
determined not to be bullied into concessions.             
    * Germany's Angela Merkel on Wednesday defended the Iran
nuclear deal following its rejection by Washington, arguing the
pact is the best way to tackle concerns about Tehran's role in
Syria and its ballistic missile programme.             
    * U.S. industrial production increased solidly in April amid
an acceleration in manufacturing and mining output, the latest
indication that the economy was gathering momentum early in the
second quarter.             
    * St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Bullard on
Wednesday said he believes the Fed's policy rate is "pretty
close" to neutral, and that further rate hikes would act to slow
economic growth and push downward on inflation.             
    * There is "a lot of support" among U.S. policymakers to
review the central bank's inflation target, even though the
process may well lead to little change in the Fed's current
approach, Bullard said.             
    

 (Reporting by Apeksha Nair in Bengaluru
Editing by Joseph Radford)
  
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