February 26, 2018 / 11:18 AM / in 6 months

PRECIOUS-Gold rebounds from biggest weekly loss this year as dollar slips

    * Dollar slides 0.4 pct against a currency basket
    * Focus on Fed chief Powell's congressional appearance
    * GRAPHIC-2018 asset returns: tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl

 (Updates throughout, adds LONDON dateline)
    By Jan Harvey
    LONDON, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Gold rose on Monday as a softer
dollar helped the metal rebound from its biggest weekly loss
this year, while traders awaited  Federal Reserve Chair Jerome
Powell's debut congressional testimony this week for clues on
the next direction of trade.
    The dollar index slid 0.4 percent on Monday, lifting gold
after it fell 1.4 percent last week, its biggest weekly drop in
2 1/2 months.       
    Spot gold        was up 0.8 percent at $1,339.75 an ounce at
1056 GMT, while U.S. gold futures        for April delivery were
up $11.30 an ounce at $1,341.60.
    MKS head of trading Afshin Nabavi attributed the rebound in
gold to the dollar move, and a return of interest from major
consumer China, where a week-long holiday ended last week.
    "I think $1,361 may be on the cards," he said. "If we can
break that level then we should be heading higher, otherwise
$1,315-1,361 should be the trading range for the time being.
$1,361 is the level we held last time gold tried to stage a
rally."
    European stocks rose 0.5 percent on Monday as investors bet
Powell will flag up an intention to steer a steady course on
U.S. monetary policy when he addresses lawmakers this week. That
view weighed on U.S. 10-year Treasuries yields, dragging down
the dollar.            
    The Fed, looking past a recent stock market sell-off and
concern about inflation, said on Friday it sees steady growth
continuing and no serious risks on the horizon that might pause
its planned pace of rate hikes.             
    Gold is highly sensitive to rising U.S. interest rates,
which increase the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding
bullion and strengthen the dollar, in which it is priced.
    The heads of the European Central Bank and Bank of England
are also set to give speeches this week. 
    Hedge funds and money managers raised their net long
positions in COMEX gold contracts in the week to Feb. 20, U.S.
Commodity Futures Trading Commission data showed on Friday,
though they reduced positions in palladium             .
    "In palladium, money manager long position has been
decreasing for six consecutive weeks and is at the lowest level
in over a year," Societe Generale said in a note.
     Autocatalyst metal palladium        was up 1.2 percent at
$1,059.40 an ounce after touching $1,062.60 earlier in the
session, its highest since Jan. 30.
    Among other precious metals, silver        was up 1.1
percent at $16.72 an ounce, while platinum        was 0.5
percent higher at $1,000.99 an ounce.

 (Additinal reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru, editing by
Larry King)
  
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