February 19, 2018 / 1:37 AM / a year ago

PRECIOUS-Gold prices inch up on weaker dollar

    Feb 19 (Reuters) - Gold prices edged up on Monday on a
softer U.S. dollar and as investors bought the yellow metal as a
hedge against inflation.
    * Spot gold        rose 0.2 percent to $1,350.51 an ounce at
0120 GMT. It hit a three-week high oft $1,361.76 on Friday.
    * The metal rose 2.4 percent last week, its best weekly gain
since the week ended Sept. 1.
    * U.S. gold futures         slipped 0.2 percent to $1,353.10
per ounce.
    * The dollar index       , which measures the greenback
against a basket of currencies, fell 0.1 percent to 88.999.
    * The U.S. currency has been weighed down by a variety of
factors this year, including concerns that Washington might
pursue a weak dollar strategy and the perceived erosion of its
yield advantage as other countries start to scale back easy
monetary policy. 
    * Hedge funds and money managers cut their net long
positions in COMEX gold and copper contracts in the week to Feb.
13, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) data showed
on Friday.             
    * Asian shares ticked up on Monday, joining a global
recovery for equity markets as sentiment improved gradually from
a recent shakeout that stemmed from fears of creeping inflation
and higher borrowing costs.            
    *  On Wall Street, the S&P 500 rose marginally on Friday to
mark its biggest weekly increase in five years, although earlier
gains evaporated after a 37-page indictment filed by U.S.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller charged 13 Russians and three
Russian companies for meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential
    * Trading is expected to be slower than usual due to market
holidays in the United States as well as Hong Kong and China.
    * SPDR Gold Trust      , the world's largest gold-backed
exchange-traded fund, said its holdings rose 0.39 percent to
824.54 tonnes on Friday from 821.30 tonnes on Thursday.    
    * India's federal police detained two employees of Punjab
National Bank          , the state-run lender that says it has
been the victim of a $1.77 billion fraud, in the first arrests
in a fast-widening probe into the country's biggest-ever bank
    * Physical gold was sold at a discount in India last week
for the first time in three weeks as demand for the metal
slumped due to a jump in local rates, while the Lunar New Year
holiday capped buying at the end of the week elsewhere in Asia.

 (Reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; Editing by Biju
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