February 19, 2018 / 3:52 AM / a month ago

PRECIOUS-Gold flat as equities recovery offsets inflation worries

    * Analysts say dollar weakness to continue
    * Speculators cut net gold longs in the week to Feb. 13
    * SPDR Gold holdings rise 0.4 percent on Friday

 (Adds comment, updates prices)
    By Sethuraman N R
    Feb 19 (Reuters) - Gold prices held steady on Monday as a
wavering dollar and rising equity markets offset rising
inflation expectations that have spurred recent safe-haven
purchases of the metal. 
    Spot gold        was mostly unchanged at $1,347.50 an ounce
by 0824 GMT. 
    The metal rose 2.4 percent last week in its best weekly gain
in more than five months, as investors bought gold on fears of
rising inflation in the United States.                          
    U.S. gold         slipped 0.4 percent to $1,350 per ounce.
    The dollar index       , which measures the greenback
against a basket of currencies, was up 0.1 percent at 89.174,
after slipping by the same percentage earlier in the session. 
    Asian shares gained on Monday, joining a global recovery in
equity markets as sentiment improved after a shakeout sparked by
fears of inflation and higher borrowing costs.            
    "The dollar index is still not showing any clear sign of
robustness and it appears that the overall bearish trend (for
the dollar) could continue," said Naeem Aslam, chief market
analyst at Think Markets UK Ltd. 
    "The weaker dollar is boosting the gold shine. The precious
metal could test the resistance of $1,384, and this is despite
the fact that the Fed could change its stance towards a more
hawkish monetary policy," Aslam said. 
    The minutes of the U.S. Federal Reserve's last policy
meeting, held amid the equities tumble on Jan. 30-31, are due on
Wednesday. Besides the outlook on rates, markets will be keen to
see what the Fed makes of the gyrations in markets.
    "When coupled with inflationary concerns heightening and a
probable follow-up correction in equities markets around the
corner, gold's safe-haven demand should continue to glitter,"
said Stephen Innes, APAC trading head at OANDA. 
    Safe-haven buying could also emerge as political tensions
rise in Washington, ANZ analysts said in a research note. 
    A 37-page indictment filed by U.S. Special Counsel Robert
Mueller charged 13 Russians and three Russian companies for
meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Russia
denounced the allegations.              
    Hedge funds and money managers cut their net long positions
in COMEX gold in the week to Feb. 13, U.S. Commodity Futures
Trading Commission (CFTC) data showed on Friday.             
    Trading is expected to be slower than usual this week due
Lunar New Year celebrations in China. Monday is also a market
holiday in the United States. 
    SPDR Gold Trust      , the world's largest gold-backed
exchange-traded fund, said its holdings rose 0.39 percent to
824.54 tonnes on Friday.          
    Among other precious metals, silver        rose 0.1 percent
to $16.68 an ounce. 
    Platinum        was up 0.8 percent at $1,010 an ounce, while
palladium        rose 0.2 percent to $1,045.99 an ounce. 

 (Reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; Editing by Joseph
Radford and Tom Hogue)
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