November 5, 2018 / 1:56 AM / a month ago

PRECIOUS-Gold prices hold steady amid easing dollar

BENGALURU, Nov 5 (Reuters) - Gold prices were steady in early Asian trade on Monday as the dollar eased, while investors are tuned in to the U.S. congressional elections on Tuesday.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Spot gold was steady at $1,232.86 per ounce, as of 0126 GMT.

* U.S. gold futures was up 0.1 percent at $1,234.6 per ounce.

* The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, was down 0.1 percent.

* In equities, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slipped 0.2 percent in early trades amid worries about tense Sino-U.S. trade relations.

* Investors are now focused on the U.S. congressional elections on Nov. 6, which will determine whether the Republican or Democratic party controls Congress, with some predicting increased market volatility on the outcome.

* U.S. job growth rebounded sharply in October and wages recorded their largest annual gain in 9-1/2 years, pointing to further labor market tightening that could encourage the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates again in December.

* The U.S. and China are not close to a deal to resolve their trade differences, the White House’s top economic adviser said on Friday, adding that he was less optimistic than previously that such an agreement would come together.

* British Prime Minister Theresa May’s office has dismissed as “speculation” a newspaper report that suggests an all-UK customs deal will be written into the legally binding agreement governing Britain’s withdrawal from the EU.

* SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings fell 0.23 percent to 759.06 tonnes on Friday from 760.82 tonnes on Thursday.

* Hedge funds and money managers raised their net short position in gold by 18,723 contracts to 45,622 contracts, according to U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data on Friday. This was the highest in three weeks.

* Physical gold demand in India was lacklustre last week, with dealers offering discounts for the metal ahead of a traditionally busy festival week for the first time in at least three years, as high prices kept consumers away.

* Barrick Gold shareholders have voted overwhelmingly in favour of the Canadian miner’s $6.1 billion acquisition of Africa-focused Randgold Resources, three people familiar with the preliminary vote count told Reuters on Friday. (Reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)

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