August 17, 2018 / 1:08 AM / a month ago

PRECIOUS-Gold inches up, but set for biggest weekly fall in 15 months

BENGALURU, Aug 17 (Reuters) - Gold prices edged higher in early trade on Friday as dollar held steady, but the metal remained on track to post its biggest weekly decline since May 2017.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Spot gold rose 0.3 percent at $1,177.38 an ounce, as of 0047 GMT. In the previous session, the metal hit a 19-month low at $1,159.96.

* The metal was down 2.8 percent for the week and set to record a sixth consecutive weekly decline.

* U.S. gold futures were unchanged at $1,184 an ounce.

* The dollar was little changed against other major currencies on Friday after nudging away from 13-1/2-month highs amid easing risk aversion and as investors awaited the next developments in the U.S.-China trade saga.

* China and the United States will hold lower-level trade talks this month, the two governments said on Thursday, offering hope that they might resolve an escalating tariff war that threatens to engulf all trade between the world’s two largest economies.

* The United States warned Turkey on Thursday to expect more economic sanctions unless it hands over detained American pastor Andrew Brunson, as relations between the two countries took a further turn for the worse.

* Finance Minister Berat Albayrak assured international investors on Thursday that Turkey would emerge stronger from its currency crisis, insisting its banks were healthy and signalling it could ride out a dispute with the United States.

* U.S. President Donald Trump praised the strength of the U.S. dollar on Thursday after the greenback reached a 14-month high against a broad basket of other currencies a day earlier.

* Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell is scheduled to speak next Friday, Aug. 24, at the annual global central bank conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, the Fed said on Thursday.

* U.S. homebuilding rebounded less than expected from a nine-month low in July, suggesting the housing market was likely to tread water for the rest of this year against the backdrop of rising construction costs and labor shortages.

* Business confidence among Japanese manufacturers was at its highest in seven months in August thanks to a firm global economy, a Reuters poll showed on Friday, but the service sector’s mood hit its lowest since 2016, casting doubt on the robustness of domestic demand. DATA AHEAD (GMT)

00800 Euro zone Current account Jun

1400 U.S. Univ of Michigan sentiment index Aug

1400 U.S. Leading index Jul

Reporting by Apeksha Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri

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