June 12, 2017 / 1:22 AM / 2 months ago

PRECIOUS-Gold gains as Asian stocks dip; Fed meeting in focus

    BENGALURU, June 12 (Reuters) - Gold prices edged up early on
Monday as Asian stocks fell ahead of a two-day U.S. Federal
Reserve policy meeting that could give clues on the pace of
possible U.S interest rate hikes over the rest of the year.
            
    FUNDAMENTALS    
    * Spot gold        had risen 0.3 percent to $1,269.16 per
ounce by 0053 GMT. It dropped 1 percent on Friday in its biggest
one-day percentage decline since May 18.      
    * U.S. gold futures         for August delivery were flat at
$1,271.60.    
    * Palladium, which hit its highest level in 16 years on
Friday, was up 0.3 percent at $893.50 an ounce.
    * The dollar rose early on Monday, while Asian stocks inched
lower following a slide by U.S. technology shares.     
    * The Fed starts a two-day meeting ending on Wednesday at
which it is widely expected to hike interest rates. The focus is
on whether the Fed thinks the U.S. economy is robust enough to
withstand further rate increases through 2017.                
    * The Fed will raise interest rates twice more this year,
but conviction for a move beyond a widely expected rise this
month has faded for many forecasters along with the outlook for
inflation for most, a Reuters poll showed.
                         
    * Attorney General Jeff Sessions will face questions about
the firing of FBI Director James Comey and undeclared meetings
with Russian officials at a U.S. Senate hearing on Tuesday,
though it was unclear whether he would testify in public or in
private.             
    * Prime Minister Theresa May reappointed most of her
ministers on Sunday but brought a Brexit campaigner and party
rival into government to try to unite her Conservatives after a
disastrous election sapped her authority, days before Brexit
talks begin.             
    * Hedge funds and money managers raised their net long
position in COMEX gold for the third straight week to the
highest in seven months in the week to June 6, and upped it
slightly in silver, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission
data showed on Friday.              
    * A wildcat strike at Sibanye Gold's          Cooke
operations west of Johannesburg continued on Sunday and 138
illegal miners there have been arrested since the stoppage began
Tuesday, a company spokesman said.             

     DATA AHEAD (GMT) 
     0800   Italy       Industrial output                Apr 
     1800   U.S.        Federal budget                  May 
     Monday, June 12, is a public holiday in Australia, Malaysia
and the Philippines.  

 (Reporting by Nithin Prasad in Bengaluru; Editing by Joseph
Radford)
  

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