August 23, 2019 / 2:02 AM / a month ago

PRECIOUS-Gold inches lower as focus shifts to Fed chair speech

Aug 23 (Reuters) - Gold prices slipped on Friday, but held near the key $1,500 level amid trade uncertainties and ahead of U.S. Fed chair’s speech for clues on future rate cuts.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Spot gold edged down 0.1% to $1,496.78 per ounce as of 0120 GMT.

* U.S. gold futures were down 0.2% at $1,506.30 an ounce.

* The market is closely watching Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s speech at the Jackson Hole seminar for clarity on monetary policy after minutes of the U.S. central bank’s July meeting tempered hopes of aggressive rate cuts.

* Underscoring divisions within the Fed, two central bank officials said on Thursday the U.S. economy does not need more stimulus at this point while another said he was “open-minded.”

* Futures are still fully priced for a quarter-point cut in rates next month, but virtually no traders expect a 50 basis-point cut.

* In the U.S. bond market, the two-year, 10-year Treasury yield curve briefly moved back into inversion overnight. It had flashed recession red lights last Wednesday for the first time since before the financial crisis.

* Traders are also awaiting the Group of Seven summit this weekend for clues on what additional steps policymakers may take to boost economic growth.

* China has partially lifted restrictions on imports of gold, bullion industry sources said on Thursday, loosening curbs that had stopped an estimated 300-500 tonnes of the metal worth $15-25 billion at current prices from entering the country since May.

* SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings rose 0.34% to 854.84 tonnes on Thursday.

DATA AHEAD (GMT)

* 1400 US Fed Chair Powell delivers remarks at the Jackson Hole Symposium

* 1400 US New Home Sales-Units July (Reporting by Harshith Aranya in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

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