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PRECIOUS-Gold prices firm, buoyed by tepid U.S. econ data
April 3, 2017 / 1:28 AM / 4 months ago

PRECIOUS-Gold prices firm, buoyed by tepid U.S. econ data

    April 3 (Reuters) - Gold prices held steady on Monday after
marking their best quarter in a year, supported by uninspiring
economic data from the United States and dovish remarks from a
Federal Reserve official on Friday.
          
    FUNDAMENTALS
    * Spot gold        was mostly unchanged at $1,248.50 per
ounce at 0101 GMT, while U.S. gold futures         were also
flat at $1,251.
    * Spot gold notched a quarterly gain of about 8.4 percent on
Friday, marking its best quarter in a year.
    * U.S. consumer spending barely rose in February amid delays
in the payment of income tax refunds, but the biggest annual
increase in inflation in nearly five years supported
expectations of further interest rate hikes this year.
            
    * The Fed could pause interest rate hikes when it begins
shedding its bond holdings, a move that would have little effect
on financial markets, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said
on Friday.             
    * Hedge funds and money managers raised their net long
position in COMEX gold for the second straight week in the week
to March 28, and boosted it slightly in silver, U.S. Commodity
Futures Trading Commission data showed on Friday.             
    * Some of Wall Street's top banks marked down their growth
estimates on the U.S. economy in the first quarter as they
blamed disappointing data on consumer spending in February on
mild weather and slow payout of tax refunds.             
    * The Fed could begin shrinking its $4.5-trillion balance
sheet as soon as this year, earlier than most economists expect,
New York Fed President William Dudley said on Friday in the
central bank's most definitive comments on the question that
looms over financial markets.             
    * China called on the United States to play its part in
resolving trade frictions between the two countries, and said
Beijing isn't devaluing its currency to boost exports as
tensions simmered ahead of President Xi Jinping's first meeting
with U.S. President Donald Trump.             
    * The U.S. Mint sold 21,000 ounces of American Eagle gold
coins in March, down 23.6 percent from the previous month,
according to the latest data.             
    * Gold demand in India rose this week due to a festival and
as local prices adjusted to an appreciating rupee, while higher
prices kept a check on demand elsewhere in Asia.             

    DATA AHEAD  (GMT)
0750  France     Markit manufacturing PMI         Mar 
0755  Germany    Markit/BME manufacturing PMI     Mar 
0800  Euro zone  Markit manufacturing PMI final   Mar 
0900  Euro zone  Producer prices                  Feb 
0900  Euro zone  Unemployment rate                Feb 
1400  U.S.       Construction spending            Feb 
1400  U.S.       ISM manufacturing PMI            Mar 

 (Reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; Editing by Joseph
Radford)
  

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