December 31, 2018 / 1:09 AM / 3 months ago

PRECIOUS-Gold inches lower as U.S.-China trade talks boost risk appetite

BENGALURU, Dec 31 (Reuters) - Gold prices fell slightly on Monday as Asian equities benefited from hints of progress on the long-drawn China-U.S. trade spat, while the dollar held steady in a narrow range.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Spot gold inched marginally lower to $1,280.20 per ounce at 0048 GMT, but was not far off Friday’s six-month high of $1,282.09.

* U.S. gold futures dipped 0.1 percent to $1,282 per ounce.

* The dollar index, a gauge of its value versus six major peers, held a narrow range in thinly traded markets.

* U.S. President Donald Trump said he held a “very good call” with China’s President Xi Jinping on Saturday to discuss trade and claimed “big progress” was being made.

* The Wall Street Journal reported negotiators were starting to work out a deal that could boost U.S. exports and loosen regulations that stifle U.S. firms in China.

* MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan added 0.2 percent in early trade, but was still down 16 percent for the year.

* North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said he wants to hold more summits with South Korea’s Moon Jae-in next year to achieve the goal of denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, Moon’s office said on Sunday.

* The European Union is not trying to keep Britain in and wants to start discussing future ties the moment the UK parliament approves Brexit, partly to focus on its own unity ahead of May elections, the head of the bloc’s executive said.

* U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham said on Sunday that he was optimistic that Republicans, Democrats and President Donald Trump could reach a deal to end a government shutdown that includes border wall funding and legal status for some undocumented immigrants.

* Physical gold demand lacked vigour in most Asian hubs last week as limited safe haven interest failed to lift activity into the year end, while jewellers in India stepped up purchases, hoping for a further leg to a rally in domestic rates. (Reporting by Karthika Suresh Namboothiri in Bengaluru; editing by Richard Pullin)

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