February 8, 2018 / 1:33 AM / 13 days ago

PRECIOUS-Gold holds losses on firmer dollar amid rate hike views

    Feb 8 (Reuters) - Gold prices held on to losses from the
previous session early on Thursday, after the precious metal
fell to four-week lows on a firmer dollar amid expectations of
more U.S. interest rate hikes.
  
    FUNDAMENTALS  
    * Spot gold        was down 0.2 percent at $1,315.22 an
ounce, as of 0112 GMT. Prices touched their lowest since Jan. 10
at $1,311.66 on Wednesday.
    * U.S. gold futures         were up 0.2 percent at $1,317.40
per ounce.
    * U.S. stocks finished lower on Wednesday, losing ground
late in the session as a jump in Treasury yields kept investor
nervousness high.            
    * Wednesday's lower close in stocks followed another choppy
trading session, suggesting that investors are still jittery
after the recent steep selloff in equities.             
    * Benchmark Treasury yields rose on Wednesday after the weak
demand in the U.S. Treasury Department auction of new 10-year
notes and the U.S. Senate reached a budget deal, possibly adding
to pressure on stocks.             
    * The Federal Reserve will stick to its plan for "steady,
gradual" interest-rate increases, San Francisco Federal Reserve
Bank President John Williams said Wednesday despite market
gyrations and strong data on U.S. wage growth that has bond
traders pricing in faster rising inflation.             
    * However, sluggish price increases in the United States
give the Federal Reserve room to hold off on interest rate
increases until at least mid-2018, Chicago Federal Reserve
President Charles Evans said on Wednesday.             
    * The U.S. dollar rose on Wednesday, marking its biggest
one-day gain in more than three months against a basket of
currencies       . It was steady at 90.289 on Thursday.
    * Much of the dollar's advance stemmed from euro's weakness
in the wake of reports that the leader of Germany's Social
Democrats (SPD), Martin Schulz, would not be taking over as
finance minister for Europe's biggest economy.             
    * U.S. congressional leaders reached a two-year budget deal
to raise government spending by almost $300 billion, a rare
display of bipartisanship that is positive for risk sentiment
but is also widening the federal deficit sharply.             
    * Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust      , the world's largest
gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell 0.29 percent to 826.90
tonnes on Wednesday from 829.27 tonnes on Tuesday.          
    * A class action suit brought against gold producers in
South Africa is likely to be settled "within months" with 9
billion rand ($755 million) going to miners suffering from fatal
lung disease, the chair of an industry group said on Wednesday.
            
    * Platinum briefly moved into a price premium over palladium
on Wednesday for the first time since October.             
     
    DATA AHEAD (GMT)
    
           China                             Trade data      Jan
    0700  Germany                            Trade data      Dec
    1200  Bank of England announces rate decision
    1330  U.S. Weekly jobless claims
     

 (Reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; editing by
Richard Pullin)
  
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