April 26, 2019 / 4:27 PM / 24 days ago

PRECIOUS-Gold scales near 2-week peak as dollar dips after U.S. GDP data

* Bullion up about 1 pct so far this week

* Spot gold neutral in $1,274-$1,284 range -analyst

* Palladium jumps 3 pct to one-month high (Updates prices)

By Brijesh Patel

April 26 (Reuters) - Gold jumped to a near two-week high on Friday, as the dollar slipped on tepid U.S. inflation data, outweighing an overall strong first-quarter growth report.

Spot gold gained 0.7 percent to $1,286.41 per ounce as of 2:16 p.m. EDT (1816 GMT), after hitting its highest level since April 16, at $1,288.59.

The metal, which on Tuesday touched its lowest level since late December, at $1,265.90, is up nearly 1 percent so far this week and is poised for its first weekly gain since March 22.

U.S. gold futures settled 0.7 percent higher at $1,288.80 an ounce.

“The main reason is the fact that the dollar is pulling lower today,” said Bob Haberkorn, senior market strategist at RJO Futures.

But, he said, “We have to be cautious about this move. It looks like a false positive because I expect equities to continue to be strong next week, pressuring the precious metals.”

The dollar index fell, making gold cheaper for holders of other currencies, after the U.S. first-quarter report on growth in gross domestic product, which was strong overall, was overshadowed by the soft inflation data.

The core personal expenditures consumption price index figure, the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge, increased at only a 1.3% rate versus 1.8% in the prior quarter.

“Also, there seems to be a bit of short covering as we are heading into the weekend and some technical buying,” said Jim Wyckoff, senior analyst with Kitco metals.

But even strong data out of the United States was unlikely to change the Federal Reserve’s monetary strategy, analysts said.

According to a Reuters poll, major central banks are done tightening policy as the global growth outlook has softened across developed and emerging economies, with scant prospects for a surge in inflation.

“Despite a significant drop in long-term real rates, gold prices have remained flat year-to-date as recession fears have receded since late last year,” Goldman Sachs said in a note. Central bank gold purchases have been running strong this year, which could support prices, Goldman said.

While gold has fallen more than 4 percent from a peak in February, bullion’s recovery from this week’s four-month low is painting a neutral picture in technical charts.

Gold looks neutral in a $1,274-$1,284 range, and an escape could suggest a direction, said Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.

Among other precious metals, silver rose 0.7 percent to $15.04 per ounce, while platinum was up 1.7 percent to $897.25.

Palladium advanced 3 percent to $1,458.01 per ounce, its highest level since March 27. (Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru Editing by Alistair Bell and Leslie Adler)

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