Dec 30 A weaker dollar helped gold extend gains
into the final trading session of the year on Friday, leaving it
on track to mark its first annual gain in four years.
* Spot gold hit its highest in more than two weeks
and was up 0.3 percent at $1,161.93 an ounce by 0103 GMT. The
metal rose over one percent in the previous session, its biggest
daily percentage gain since late September.
* Gold has risen over 9 percent so far this year despite an
8 percent drop in November, snapping a three-year losing streak.
* The safe haven asset was poised to register its best
weekly gains since early June, having risen about 2.5 percent
thus far. However, it is down nearly one percent in December,
and about 12 percent for the current quarter.
* U.S. gold futures rose 0.4 percent to $1,163 per
* The dollar index, which measures the greenback
against a basket of currencies, fell 0.6 percent at 102.09.
* A drop in U.S. exports last month pushed the country's
trade deficit in goods higher while the number of Americans
filing for unemployment benefits fell last week in a positive
sign for the labor market.
* The Bank of Japan should be flexible about raising its
bond yield target and allow long-term interest rates to increase
if such moves reflected improvements in the economy, one of its
board members was quoted as saying at this month's rate review.
* Top consumer China's net gold imports via main conduit
Hong Kong dropped 17.84 percent month on month in November, data
showed on Thursday.
* For the top stories on metals and other news, click
U.S. oil prices rose in early Asian trade on Friday
shrugging off a second consecutive week of crude oil inventory
builds, with a U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)
report late on Thursday indicating an unexpected rise in crude
DATA AHEAD (GMT)
1445 U.S. Chicago PMI Dec.
1530 U.S. ECRI Weekly Index
1530 U.S. ECRI Weekly Annualized
(Reporting by Swati Verma in Bengaluru; Editing by Michael