January 24, 2018 / 1:15 AM / a year ago

PRECIOUS-Gold firm as dollar sinks further

    Jan 24 (Reuters) - Gold prices held steady early Wednesday,
drifting around four-month highs hit last week, as the U.S.
dollar fell to fresh three-year lows.
    * Spot gold        was nearly unchanged at $1,340.63 per
ounce at 0100 GMT.    
    * U.S. gold futures         for February delivery rose 0.3
percent to $1,340.20 per ounce.
    * Asian shares scaled record peaks as strong corporate
earnings and optimism on global growth outweighed concerns over
trade tensions.            
    * The dollar extended recent weakness against a basket of
major currencies to hit a fresh three-year low on Tuesday, after
the euro surged on consumer confidence data indicating strong
momentum in the region's economy.       
    * The U.S. Senate on Tuesday confirmed Federal Reserve
Governor Jerome Powell as the next head of the central bank,
succeeding Janet Yellen, a move likely to provide continuity in
U.S. monetary policy with the economy growing now for nine years
    * The Bank of Japan kept monetary settings unchanged as
expected on Tuesday and its chief hosed down market speculation
of a shift away from ultra-easy policy later this year as
inflation remained stubbornly shy of the central bank's target.
    * U.S. Treasury debt yields weakened on Tuesday in quiet
trading, moving in tandem with Japanese government bond yields,
after the Bank of Japan kept interest rate targets unchanged and
its top official quashed speculation of a move away from an easy
monetary policy.          
    * North Korea said on Tuesday it had a "powerful and
reliable" nuclear deterrent to thwart any attack and accused the
United States of deploying military assets nearby under the
pretext of ensuring security at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.
    * The World Gold Council (WGC) is studying the creation of a
global standard for gold kilobars so they can be deployed as
collateral in futures markets and potentially encourage demand,
sources close to the matter said.             
    * The U.S. economy is likely to grow in 2018 at its fastest
pace in three years, fuelled by the biggest tax overhaul since
the 1980s, a majority of economists said in a Reuters poll that
also showed they expected the boost to be short-lived.
    0800  France    Markit manufacturing flash PMI  Jan
    0830  Germany   Markit manufacturing flash PMI  Jan
    0900  Euro zone Markit manufacturing flash PMI  Jan
    1400  U.S.      Monthly home price index        Nov
    1445  U.S.      Markit manufacturing flash PMI  Jan
    1500  U.S.      Existing home sales             Dec

 (Reporting by Nithin Prasad in Bengaluru; editing by Richard
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