PRECIOUS-Gold prices steady as economic growth woes dent risk sentiment

Sept 4 (Reuters) - Gold prices held steady near a one-week high on Wednesday, supported by weak U.S. manufacturing data that heightened fears of an economic slowdown and soured risk sentiment.


* Spot gold was up 0.1% at $1,548.31 per ounce at 0121 GMT, having touched a one-week high of $1,549.80 earlier in the session.

* U.S. gold futures were steady at $1,555.6 an ounce.

* Spot silver climbed 1.5% to $19.51 per ounce, after hitting $19.57, its highest level since September 2016.

* The dollar index was down 0.1% against a basket of currencies, while Asian stocks dipped on global recession fears.

* U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday warned he would be “tougher” on Beijing in a second term if trade talks dragged on, compounding market fears that ongoing trade disputes between the United States and China could trigger a U.S. recession.

* U.S. manufacturing activity contracted for the first time in three years in August, with new orders and hiring declining sharply as trade tensions weighed on business confidence, raising financial market fears of a recession.

* U.S. Treasury yields fell on Tuesday, with the benchmark 10-year yield hitting its lowest since July 2016.

* The U.S. Federal Reserve should cut interest rates by half a percentage point at its meeting in two weeks to get ahead of both financial market expectations for a rate cut and a global trade war that has become a broader “reckoning” over how the world economy is organised, St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard said in an interview on Tuesday.

* ECB policymakers are leaning towards a stimulus package that includes a rate cut, a beefed-up pledge to keep rates low for longer and compensation for banks over the side-effects of negative rates, five sources familiar with the discussion said.

* British lawmakers defeated Boris Johnson in parliament on Tuesday in a bid to prevent him taking Britain out of the EU without a divorce agreement, prompting the prime minister to announce that he would immediately push for a snap election.

* SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings rose 1.34% to 890.04 tonnes on Tuesday from 878.31 tonnes on Friday.

* Gold reserves held by Venezuela’s central bank fell by $1 billion in the first half of 2019, official data released this week showed, amid opposition accusations that the government is selling the precious metal abroad to raise revenue in the face of U.S. sanctions. (Reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)