March 29, 2019 / 3:52 PM / 3 months ago

PRECIOUS-Gold rises as dollar dips; palladium snaps losing streak

    * Gold snaps three weekly sessions of gains
    * Palladium down 12 pct this week
    * GRAPHIC-2019 asset returns: tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl

 (Updates prices; adds comments, background)
    By Karthika Suresh Namboothiri
    March 29 (Reuters) - Gold gained on Friday en route to its
second quarterly rise as the dollar eased on tepid U.S. economic
data, while palladium snapped three straight sessions of sharp
losses, ending the quarter on a positive note.
   Spot gold        was up 0.2 percent at $1,292.93 per ounce as
of 1:34 p.m. EDT (1734 GMT). Prices struggled to break past
resistance around $1,300 per ounce, a level it had fallen
through on Thursday, with momentum capped by rising global
equities.            
    U.S. gold futures         settled 0.2 percent higher at
$1,298.50 per ounce.
    "The dollar is pulling back a little bit," said Josh Graves,
senior commodities strategist at RJO Futures in Chicago.
"Personal spending has declined, so investors are looking to
place money in more safe-haven assets, like gold."
    U.S. consumer spending rebounded less than expected in
January and incomes rose modestly in February, adding to
concerns that slowing global growth was affecting the world's
largest economy as well.             
    The dollar        edged lower against a basket of other
currencies after the U.S. data, but pared losses as sterling
fell after British Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal was
again voted down in parliament.       
    Also propping up bullion were cautious signals from the U.S.
Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank.
    Gold, however, was still bound for a second consecutive
monthly drop, losing about 1.4 percent - its biggest decline
since August - weighed down by the dollar's recent strength. 
    The yellow metal had declined about 1.5 percent on Thursday.
    Palladium        gained 1.5 percent on Friday to $1,368.21
per ounce, having slid over 12 percent in the week amid worries
that industrial demand for the precious metal would be hurt by a
weakening economy.
    "It's just some buyers coming in and thinking that these
prices are of fair value and this is the opportunity to come
into the market," said Philip Newman, a director at Metals
Focus.
    The metal, used to make catalytic converters for vehicle
exhaust systems, had soared since last year on a sustained
deficit. The run stalled this week, with the metal sliding the
most since January 2017 on Thursday.
    Palladium ended the first quarter up more than 9 percent.
    "I don't think the correction in palladium is done yet. Once
we had the first $100 down day, that was the first red flag. You
saw more investors unwind their long positions and take whatever
profits they can," said RJO's Graves.
    Among other metals, platinum        rose 1.3 percent to
$847.50 per ounce, extending weekly gains. Silver        was up
0.7 percent at $15.11.

    
 (Reporting by Karthika Suresh Namboothiri in Bengaluru, editing
by G Crosse)
  
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