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PRECIOUS-Gold near 3-mth high; eyes weekly gain on U.S. rate expectations
May 15, 2015 / 12:51 AM / 2 years ago

PRECIOUS-Gold near 3-mth high; eyes weekly gain on U.S. rate expectations

SINGAPORE, May 15 (Reuters) - Gold traded near a three-month
high on Friday and was on track for its biggest weekly gain in
four months on receding expectations the Federal Reserve would
hike U.S. interest rates soon.
    
    FUNDAMENTALS
    * Spot gold was steady at $1,221.20 an ounce by 0031
GMT, after rising 0.5 percent on Thursday. Prices had climbed to
$1,227.04 in the previous session, their highest since Feb. 17. 
    * The metal is up nearly 3 percent this week, the biggest
weekly gain since mid-January.
    * Recent U.S. data has supported market expectations that
the economy is not strong enough for the Fed to start rising
record-low rates from June. 
    * The bullion market was getting comfort from Wednesday data
that showed U.S. retail sales were flat in April, weaker than
expected, as households cut back on purchases of automobiles and
other big-ticket items. 
    * That added to second-quarter growth concerns already
prompted by sluggish U.S. nonfarm payrolls data last week.
    * Data on Thursday that showed the number of Americans
filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell last week
towards a 15-year low failed to alleviate concerns over the
economy. 
    * The dollar was trading close to four-month lows on Friday
against a basket of major currencies, on speculation the U.S.
central bank will not hike rate until later this year.
    * Higher rates would boost demand for the greenback, but
diminish the appeal of non-interest-paying bullion.
    * Traders will be watching data for cues. U.S. data due
Friday includes April industrial production and the University
of Michigan's preliminary May reading on consumer sentiment.
    * Investors however seemed uncertain about bullion's rally
and how long it would last.
    * Holdings in SPDR Gold Trust, the world's
largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell 0.61 percent to
723.91 tonnes on Thursday, a four-month low.
    * Strength in equities could be keeping some investors away.
The possibility of a delayed rate hike helped push the S&P 500
to a record high close on Thursday. 
    * Among other precious metals, silver was headed for
its biggest weekly gain in two months. Platinum was on
track for a third straight weekly gain, but palladium was
set for a weekly decline.
    * Platinum prices could test $1,000 an ounce this year, a
level not seen since early 2009, as supply from South African
mines and global autocatalyst recyclers climbs, GFMS analysts at
Thomson Reuters said in a report on Thursday. 
    * For the top stories on metals and other news, click
 or 
    
    DATA/EVENTS (GMT)
    1230 U.S. New York Fed manufacturing May 
    1315 U.S. industrial output Apr 
    1400 U.S. Univ of Michigan sentiment index May

    PRICES AT 0031 GMT
 Metal           Last     Change   Pct chg
                                          
 Spot gold        1221.2     0.08     0.01
 Spot silver       17.49     0.06     0.34
 Spot platinum    1156.7    -1.85    -0.16
 Spot palladium   779.25    -1.75    -0.22
 Comex gold       1220.9     -4.3    -0.35
 Comex silver      17.51    0.045     0.26
 Euro             1.1408                  
 DXY              93.382                  
                                          
 COMEX gold and silver contracts show the
 most active months
 
 (Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi; Editing by Joseph Radford)

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