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PRECIOUS-Gold holds gains as U.S. political worries hit dollar
May 18, 2017 / 1:17 AM / in 2 months

PRECIOUS-Gold holds gains as U.S. political worries hit dollar

3 Min Read

    May 18 (Reuters) - Gold prices held steady on Thursday after
jumping about 2 percent the session before, buoyed by political
uncertainty in the United States and tempered expectations for
an aggressive string of U.S. interest rate hikes.
    
    FUNDAMENTALS
    * Spot gold        was flat at $1,259.99 per ounce by 0055
GMT, after earlier touching its strongest since May 1 at
$1,263.02. It rose about 2 percent on Wednesday in its biggest
one-day percentage gain since June last year. 
    * U.S. gold futures         were up 0.1 percent at $1,260 an
ounce.
    * The dollar stood near six-month lows against a basket of
major currencies on Thursday as the U.S. political crisis
appeared to deepen, and likely to delay any efforts by President
Donald Trump to carry out his economic stimulus plans.       
    * The U.S. Justice Department on Wednesday appointed former
FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to investigate
possible collusion between Trump's 2016 campaign team and Russia
as well as alleged Russian interference in the U.S. election.
            
    * Investors were shelving rosy hopes for U.S. tax reform and
rethinking strategies premised o Trump's economic growth
promises on Wednesday, as the President faced his loudest
criticism yet over possible collusion between his election
campaign and Russia.             
    * Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank President Neel Kashkari
on Wednesday warned against using interest rate hikes to address
unwanted asset bubbles, saying that bubbles are hard to identify
and such hikes would likely do more harm than good.             
    * U.S. mortgage application activity recorded its steepest
drop since December, retreating from an eight-week high, as
various home borrowing costs held steady or rose modestly,
according to Mortgage Bankers Association data released on
Wednesday.             
    * UBS's U.S. economists on Wednesday said they expected the
Fed to increase interest rates at its June and September policy
meetings, earlier than their prior forecast on such moves at
their July and December meetings.             
    * Indian gold imports will drop back sharply after jumping
in the first quarter, the World Gold Council said on Wednesday
as the launch of a new tax regime and restrictions on refiners'
ability to import gold dore take their toll.             
    * South Africa's platinum output is grinding lower as
producers cut capital expenditure and shutter unprofitable
areas, but it is not happening fast enough to tackle the
industry's bigger problem - rock-bottom prices for the metal
itself.             
        
    DATA/EVENT AHEAD (GMT) 
    0130  China  House prices            Apr 
    0830  Britain Retail sales           Apr 
    1230  U.S. Weekly jobless claims 
    1230  U.S. Philly Fed business index May 
    1400  U.S. Leading index             Apr 

 (Reporting by Vijaykumar Vedala in Bengaluru; Editing by Joseph
Radford)
  

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