December 18, 2017 / 4:29 AM / a year ago

PRECIOUS-Gold prices range-bound as dollar holds firm on U.S. tax bill hopes

    * Spot gold faces resistance at $1,262/oz -technicals
    * Speculators cut net longs in gold in week to Dec 12

 (Updates prices)
    By Apeksha Nair
    Dec 18 (Reuters) - Gold traded sideways in a tight range on
Monday, pressured by firmer equities and a buoyant dollar after
a bill to overhaul the tax system in the United States moved a
step closer to ratification. 
    Spot gold        was up 0.1 percent at $1,256.52 an ounce as
of 0734 GMT.
    U.S. gold futures         rose 0.1 percent to $1,259.30 an
    The dollar held modest gains on Monday, having received a
lift after top U.S. Republicans said they expected Congress to
pass a tax code overhaul this week. A Senate vote could come as
early as Tuesday and President Donald Trump aims to sign the
bill before the week is out.             
    "I think we have the last bearish news, which is the tax
reform, and that is negative for gold so we expect gold to stay
pretty depressed," said Richard Xu, a fund manager at China's
biggest gold exchange-traded fund, HuaAn Gold. 
    The U.S. tax bill, which would cut taxes for businesses and
the rich while offering everyday Americans a mixed bag of
changes, has helped drive the surge in equity markets this year.
    Asian shares gained on Monday, pulled higher by Wall Street,
which hit record highs on expectations U.S. lawmakers will pass
the long-awaited bill.             
    Expectations that tax cuts would spur economic growth and
prompt faster interest rate rises in the United States have
boosted the dollar and weighed on gold. 
    Spot gold faces a resistance at $1,262 per ounce and may
hover below this level or retrace to a support at $1,239,
Reuters technicals analyst Wang Tao said.              
    Hedge funds and money managers cut their net long positions
in COMEX gold contracts in the week to Dec. 12, while they
switched to a net short stance in silver for the first time in
five months, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)
data showed on Friday.         
    In other precious metals, silver        edged up 0.1 percent
to $16.06 an ounce and palladium        stood little changed at
$1,022.35 an ounce.
     Platinum        rose 0.6 percent to its highest since Dec.
8 at $898.90 an ounce. 

 (Reporting by Apeksha Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Joseph
Radford and Tom Hogue)
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