February 26, 2019 / 1:41 AM / 8 months ago

PRECIOUS-Palladium soars past $1,550 on mine strike fears; gold firm

Feb 26 (Reuters) - Palladium surged to a record high on Tuesday, rising above $1,550, as the threat of strikes in the South African mining industry aggravated supply concerns in an already tight market, while gold prices were firm on a subdued dollar.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Spot palladium, which rose to as high as $1,553 per ounce, was up 0.7 percent at $1,552 as of 0128 GMT.

* Spot gold was flat at $1,327.40 per ounce, while U.S. gold futures were steady at $1,329.9 per ounce.

* At least 15 mining firms in South Africa have received notices of strikes to be held this week in support of colleagues at Sibanye-Stillwater who downed tools over wages and job cuts, Minerals Council South Africa said.

* The dollar index was little changed at 96.381 against major currencies.

* Trump said on Monday he may soon sign a deal to end a trade war with Chinese President Xi Jinping if their countries can bridge remaining differences, saying negotiators were “very, very close” to a deal.

* However, he also sounded a note of caution, when he said a deal “could happen fairly soon, or it might not happen at all.”

* Asian shares paused at a five-month peak on signs Washington and Beijing were making progress on a trade deal.

* British Prime Minister Theresa May is considering a plan to delay Brexit to ensure the U.K. does not leave the European Union without a deal, Bloomberg reported on Monday, citing people familiar with the situation.

* Trump headed for Vietnam on Monday for a second summit with Kim Jong Un, having stressed the benefits to Pyongyang if the North Korean leader gives up his nuclear weapons, but saying there was no rush.

* SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings fell 0.15 percent to 788.33 tonnes on Monday from 789.51 tonnes on Friday.

DATA AHEAD (GMT) 1500 U.S. Consumer Confidence Feb 1500 U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell to testify on U.S. monetary policy and the economy before the Senate Banking Committee (Reporting by K. Sathya Narayanan in Bengaluru; Editing by Shreejay Sinha)

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