December 22, 2017 / 4:11 AM / a year ago

PRECIOUS-Gold prices hover below 2-week high, set for second weekly gain

    * Spot gold up nearly 1 percent for the week
    * Palladium hits highest since Feb, 2001
    * Silver, platinum and palladium on track for 2nd weekly

 (Adds comment, weekly milestone; updates prices)
    By Apeksha Nair
    Dec 22 (Reuters) - Gold prices held steady below a two-week
high in thin pre-holiday trade on Friday amid firmer equities
and a sturdy dollar, remaining on track to log a second
consecutive week of gains.
    Spot gold        was steady at $1,267.08 an ounce at 0703
GMT, after hitting its highest since Dec. 6 at $1,268.91 in the
previous session. It was up 0.95 percent for the week. 
    U.S. gold futures         were unchanged at $1,270.40 an
    "(We are seeing) normal market activity ahead of the holiday
weekend. Expect some profit-taking to be seen from
bargain-hunters who bought at the start of the week at the
$1,254 level," said Mun Chun Loh, director of private wealth at
GoldSilver Central Pte Ltd in Singapore.
    The dollar edged up on Friday though it remained on track
for weekly losses, while the euro slumped after Catalan vote
results indicated a victory for separatists in a blow to
    "The market's a bit flat due to the holidays and there seems
to be some kind of uncertainty around," said Ronald Leung, chief
dealer at Lee Cheong Gold Dealers in Hong Kong.
    The U.S. Congress on Thursday averted a government shutdown
just one day before federal funding was due to expire, sending
Trump a bill to provide just enough money to keep agencies
operating through Jan. 19.                  
    The greenback was also supported as Congress had approved
the biggest overhaul of the country's tax code in 30 years,
which was expected to give at least a short-term lift to
economic growth.      
    Asian stocks edged up on Friday as upbeat data pointed to
steady growth in the U.S. economy.                         
    "Under the tax reform, people are waiting to see if it's
good for the U.S economy in the coming months ... people don't
want to do anything about it for the time being," Leung said. 
    "Next week as well, unless there's an exciting event, I
think we'll be quiet," he said, adding support for the yellow
metal comes in around $1,260 an ounce and resistance near
    The Moscow Exchange will launch deliverable futures for gold
in 2018 in a move to further prop up bullion market liquidity,
bourse chief executive Alexander Afanasiev said on Thursday.
    In other precious metals, Palladium        was up 0.2
percent at $1,039.50 an ounce, trading at its highest level
since February, 2001.
    Silver        rose 0.5 percent to $16.17 an ounce, and
platinum        was 0.4-percent lower at $911.50 an ounce.
    All three of those precious metals were on track to gain for
a second week in a row.

 (Reporting by Apeksha Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Edwina
Gibbs and Joseph Radford)
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