November 16, 2017 / 1:21 AM / in a year

PRECIOUS-Gold steady as dollar gains amid U.S. rate hike expectations

    Nov 16 (Reuters) - Gold prices held steady early on Thursday
as the dollar firmed after upbeat U.S. economic data bolstered
the prospects of interest rate increases next month and beyond. 
   
                                
    FUNDAMENTALS    
    * Spot gold        was nearly unchanged at $1,278.06 per
ounce at 1255 GMT. On Wednesday, gold touched a session high of
$1,289.09, a peak since Oct. 20, before paring gains and ending
the session about 0.2 percent lower due to a stronger dollar.
    * U.S. gold futures         for December delivery were flat
at $1,277.80.
    * The dollar index       , which tracks the U.S. currency
against a basket of six major rivals, edged up 0.1 percent.
    * Underlying U.S. consumer prices increased in October on
the back of a pickup in rents and healthcare costs, bolstering
the view that a recent disinflationary trend worrying the
Federal Reserve probably had ended.             
    * Weekly wages are rising, American consumers are spending
their money and prices are following suit in signs that a
continued economic recovery sets the stage for a Fed rate rise
in December and the cycle beyond that, despite concerns over low
levels of inflation.             
    * Fed policymaker Charles Evans said he will go with an open
mind into next month's policy meeting, at which the U.S. central
bank is expected to raise interest rates for a third time this
year.            
    * Falling unemployment and sustained growth mean the U.S.
economy has accelerated beyond a sustainable level so the Fed
should continue to raise interest rates, including next month, a
veteran Fed policymaker said on Wednesday.            
    * A Senate Republican tax plan that would repeal the
Obamacare mandate and give permanent tax cuts only to U.S.
corporations drew fire from two Republican lawmakers on
Wednesday in what could be a sign of trouble for the sweeping
measure.             
    * British Prime Minister Theresa May withstood new attempts
to force concessions on her blueprint for leaving the European
Union on Wednesday, the second day of a parliamentary debate
that is deepening divisions over Brexit.             
    * Asian shares got off to a cautious start on Thursday after
Wall Street stumbled and the Treasury yield curve hit its
flattest in a decade as investors priced in more U.S. rate
hikes.                
    
    DATA/EVENT AHEAD (GMT)
    0930  U.K.         Retail sales                         Oct
    1000  Euro Zone    Consumer prices (revised)            Oct
    1330  U.S.         Philadelphia FED business conditions Nov 
    1415  U.S.         Industrial output                    Oct 
  

 (Reporting by Vijaykumar Vedala in Bengaluru; Editing by
Amrutha Gayathri)
  
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