March 29, 2017 / 1:48 AM / 10 months ago

PRECIOUS-Gold prices slip on solid U.S. data, firmer dollar

    March 29 (Reuters) - Gold prices fell on Wednesday as
positive economic data from the United States backed
expectations of further interest rate hikes by the Federal
Reserve this year, prompting the dollar to bounce back from
multi-month lows.
    * Spot gold        was down 0.2 percent at $1,248.60 per
ounce, as of 0119 GMT. U.S. gold futures         slipped 0.6
percent to $1,248.2.
    * The dollar pulled away from 4-1/2-month lows against a
currency basket on Wednesday as solid data backed expectations
for more U.S. interest rate hikes this year.       
    * Reinforcing rate hike expectations, U.S. consumer
confidence index hit 125.6 in March, surpassing expectations for
a reading of 114 and much higher than 116.1 in February. The
March level marked the highest since December 2000. 
    * U.S. Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer also
gave the dollar a lift as he said in a television interview that
two more increases to U.S. overnight interest rates this year
seemed "about right."             
    * President Donald Trump told a group of senators on Tuesday
that he expects lawmakers to be able to reach a deal on
    * Since Trump's election, Fed officials have debated how his
campaign promises may change an economy many policymakers feel
is on a sturdy course.
    * The collapse of the healthcare overhaul effort on Friday
             has, if anything, made the U.S. central bank's job
harder as it tries to tease out what set of policies may make it
through Congress.
    * The faltering campaign of French presidential candidate
Francois Fillon suffered another setback on Tuesday when
magistrates placed his wife under formal investigation over
allegations that he paid her for a fake parliamentary job.
    * Prime Minister Theresa May will file formal Brexit divorce
papers on Wednesday, pitching the United Kingdom into the
unknown and triggering years of uncertain negotiations that will
test the endurance of the European Union.             
    * More partnership deals are likely in the gold industry as
miners start investing in new projects again but are keen to
lower the risk, analysts said after Goldcorp Inc        and
Barrick Gold Corp's          announced a 50-50 joint venture in
    * Gold bullion investment will rise for the fourth straight
year in 2017 as global political and economic factors are
forecast to maintain buying interest, CPM Group said on Tuesday.
    * Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust      , the world's largest
gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell 0.21 percent to 833.51
tonnes on Tuesday.          

    0600 Germany    Import prices        Feb
    0645 France     Consumer confidence  Mar
    1400 U.S.       Pending homes sales  Feb

 (Reporting by Arpan Varghese in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry
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