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PRECIOUS-Gold steady on US political uncertainty; but heads for 4th weekly loss
May 12, 2017 / 1:19 AM / 4 months ago

PRECIOUS-Gold steady on US political uncertainty; but heads for 4th weekly loss

    May 12 (Reuters) - Gold prices held firm on Friday on
political uncertainty in the United States, but were set for
their fourth straight weekly loss due to expectations of an
interest rate hike by the U.S. Federal Reserve in June.

    FUNDAMENTALS
    * Spot gold        was unchanged at $1,224.63 per ounce at
0103 GMT. It hit an eight-week low of $1,213.81 an ounce on
Tuesday.
    * U.S. gold futures         were also steady at $1,224.50 an
ounce.
    * President Donald Trump on Thursday ran into resistance for
calling ousted FBI chief James Comey a "showboat." The attack
that was swiftly contradicted by top U.S. senators and acting
FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who pledged that an investigation
into possible Trump campaign ties to Russia would proceed.
            
    * New applications for U.S. jobless benefits unexpectedly
fell last week, while producer prices rebounded strongly in
April, pointing to a tightening labour market and rising
inflation that could spur the Federal Reserve to raise interest
rates in June.             
    * Trade protectionism is a "dead end" that may score
political points but will ultimately hurt the U.S. economy, one
of the most influential Fed officials said on Thursday in the
central bank's strongest defence yet of open borders in the face
of a sceptical Trump administration.             
    * Finance chiefs from the G7 begin a two-day meeting in
Italy on Friday, with Europe, Japan and Canada hoping to come
away with a clearer picture of U.S. President Donald Trump's
direction on important policies that he has yet to spell out.
            
    * Euro zone economic growth should grow a bit faster this
year than previously believed and the unemployment rate could be
the lowest in a decade, the European Commission said on
Thursday.             
    * Platinum producer Lonmin said on Thursday protesters
demanding jobs were disrupting output, damaging property and
intimidating employees around its Marikana operations in South
Africa.             
    * South African-based precious metals producer Sibanye Gold
         plans to raise $1 billion through a rights issue to
repay a portion of a $2.65 billion loan facility it used to
acquire U.S. platinum producer Stillwater             
    * Egypt will announce the results of its gold mining
exploration tender next week, Minister of Petroleum Tarek El
Molla said on Thursday.             
    * South Africa is set to avoid slipping into a technical
recession this year following surprise improvements in mining
and manufacturing output, although the economy remains under
pressure due to recent credit downgrades to junk.             
    

    DATA/EVENT AHEAD (GMT) 
    
     0600  Germany     GDP flash                  Q1 
     0900  Euro zone   Industrial production      Mar 
     1230  U.S.        Consumer prices            Apr 
     1230  U.S.        Retail sales               Apr 
     1400  U.S.        Business inventories       Mar 
     1400  U.S.        Univ of Michigan sentiment index   May 
    

 (Reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru)
  

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