July 14, 2017 / 4:40 AM / 5 months ago

PRECIOUS-Gold on track for first weekly gain in three

    * Spot gold steady on Friday, up 0.3 pct so far this week
    * Gold prices likely to be around $1,200 at year-end
    * Palladium up almost 2 pct this week

 (Updates prices)
    By Nithin ThomasPrasad
    BENGALURU, July 14 (Reuters) - Gold prices held steady on
Friday amid little change in the dollar ahead of key U.S.
economic data, but the metal remained on course for its first
weekly gain in three.
    "Most of the downside in gold this morning was largely due
to profit-taking, but more importantly, market sentiment is
still on the rosy side and in a more positive environment," said
OCBC analyst Barnabas Gan.
    Spot gold        rose 0.1 percent to $1,218.18 per ounce at
0646 GMT. It was up 0.4 percent for the week so far, which would
be its biggest weekly gain since early June.    
    U.S. gold futures         for August delivery fell 0.02
percent to $1,217.00 per ounce.
    "I'm still bearish on my gold forecasts, but I think there
are still some upside risks in the short-term, simply because
there's still some uncertainty on the horizon," said Gan.
    "The rate hike and the balance sheet tapering should inject
a more positive growth outlook ... globally and that should push
 gold prices down to our $1,200 an ounce estimate by the end of
the year." 
    The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits
fell last week for the first time in a month and producer prices
unexpectedly rose in June, likely keeping the U.S. Federal
Reserve on course for a third interest rate increase this year.
    "We remain neutral on gold at this point as the dollar's
short-term trend is inconclusive, allowing higher yields to fill
the space and throttle any gold rallies," said INTL FCStone
analyst Edward Meir.
    The dollar was little changed against a group of peers early
on Friday, as currency investors remained cautious ahead of U.S.
inflation data due later in the session.        
    The dollar index        was down 0.06 percent at 95.672 as
of 0636 GMT.
    A stronger greenback would weigh on gold, making the
dollar-priced commodity more expensive for investors holding
other currencies. 
    Global stocks scaled record highs on Friday, with Asian
equities rising for the fifth straight session, boosted by signs
the Fed will pursue a gradual rate tightening path and hopes for
a strong earnings season.            
    Meanwhile, holdings at the SPDR Gold Trust      , the
world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund fell 0.43
percent to 828.84 tonnes on Thursday from 832.39 tonnes on
    Among other precious metals, silver prices        remained
unchanged at $15.66 per ounce.
    Palladium        rose 0.5 percent to $856.03 per ounce, set
to end the week over 2 percent higher. Platinum        rose 0.1
percent to $902.49 per ounce.   

 (Reporting by Nithin Prasad and Arpan Varghese in Bengaluru;
Editing by Richard Pullin)

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