July 30, 2018 / 1:21 AM / 21 days ago

PRECIOUS-Gold prices steady; central bank meetings, U.S. data loom

    BENGALURU, July 30 (Reuters) - Gold prices were little
changed in early trade on Monday, with major currencies
including the dollar in a holding pattern ahead of key central
bank meetings and U.S. data this week.

    FUNDAMENTALS  
    * Spot gold        was nearly unchanged at $1,222.68 an
ounce at 0107 GMT. 
    * U.S. gold futures         were about 0.1 percent lower at
$1,222 an ounce.   
    * The dollar trod water against its peers on Monday, as
market participants awaited key central bank meetings this week,
which could set the near-term course for currencies.       
    * Central banks in focus include the Bank of Japan, which
ends a two-day meeting on Tuesday, and the Federal Reserve,
which concludes its policy meeting on Wednesday. The Bank of
England also makes a policy decision on Thursday. 
    * Asian share markets drifted lower on Monday while
currencies kept to familiar ranges ahead of a busy week peppered
with central bank meetings, corporate results and updates on
U.S. inflation and payrolls.            
    * U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday he would allow
the federal government to shut down if Democrats do not fund his
border wall and back immigration law changes, betting that
maintaining a hard line will work in Republicans' favor in
November congressional elections.             
    * The U.S. economy grew at its fastest pace in nearly four
years in the second quarter as consumers boosted spending and
farmers rushed shipments of soybeans to China to beat
retaliatory trade tariffs before they took effect in early July.
            
    * Euro zone inflation could accelerate faster than earlier
thought, the European Central Bank's Survey of Professional
Forecasters showed on Friday, underpinning the bank's decision
to slowly remove stimulus.             
    * Japan's retail sales climbed more than expected in June
due to increased spending on fuel, appliances and cosmetics, in
a positive sign that households are growing more confident in
the economy.             
    * Hedge funds and money managers increased their net short
position in COMEX gold contracts to a record in the week to July
24, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) data showed
on Friday.             
    * Gold demand in India improved last week as local prices
traded near a six-month low, prompting jewellers to replenish
inventory, while weaker rates in Singapore saw demand pick up
further there.             

 (Reporting by Apeksha Nair in Bengaluru; editing by Richard
Pullin)
  
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