February 14, 2017 / 1:10 AM / 6 months ago

PRECIOUS-Gold prices firm ahead of testimony by Fed's Yellen

    Feb 14 (Reuters) - Gold prices firmed on Tuesday as
investors turned their attention to testimony from U.S. Federal
Reserve Chair Janet Yellen later in the day for hints on the
central bank's interest rate strategy.     
        
    FUNDAMENTALS
    * Spot gold        was mostly unchanged at $1,225.06 per
ounce at 0048 GMT, while U.S. gold futures         inched up 
0.04 percent to $1,226.3.
    * The dollar index was nearly flat on the day at 100.94
      . That was not far from Monday's high of 101.11, its
strongest since Jan. 20.             
    * SPDR Gold Trust      , the world's largest gold-backed
exchange-traded fund, said its holdings rose 0.49 percent to
840.87 tonnes on Monday from 836.73 tonnes on Friday.          
    * Investors are focused on testimony by the Fed's Yellen
before Congress on Tuesday and Wednesday in the wake of hints
from other policymakers that could suggest they are leaning
towards more hikes in interest rates this year than the two
currently priced in by markets. 
    * Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan on Monday said the U.S.
central bank should act soon to raise rates, or risk having to
abandon its plan to do so slowly.             
    * A measure of U.S. inflation expectations rose for a second
straight month in January to its highest level since mid-2015,
according to a Federal Reserve Bank of New York survey released
on Monday that reinforced the view that interest rates would
keep climbing.             
    * The European Commission said on Monday that uncertainty
about U.S. policies, Brexit and elections in Germany and France
would take their toll on the euro zone economy this year.
            
    * The value of gold held by Venezuela fell 23 percent in
2016, according to its central bank, as the OPEC nation cashed
in the precious metal amid an economic crisis, low oil prices
and heavy debt payments.             
    
    DATA AHEAD (GMT)
    0130   China       Consumer prices       Jan
    0130   China       Producer prices       Jan
    0700   Germany     GDP flash              Q4
    0930   Britain     Consumer prices       Jan
    1000   Germany   ZEW economic sentiment  Feb
    1000   Euro zone   GDP flash              Q4
    1000   Euro zone Industrial production   Dec
    1100   U.S.       NFIB business optimism Jan
    1500   Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen delivers
semiannual monetary testimony before the Senate Banking
Committee

    

 (Reporting by Arpan Varghese in Bengaluru; Editing by Joseph
Radford)
  

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