February 16, 2018 / 3:22 AM / 4 months ago

Gold prices set for biggest weekly gain in nearly two years

REUTERS - Gold prices held firm on Friday to remain on track for their biggest weekly percentage gain in nearly two years, buoyed by a weaker U.S. dollar and as investors looked to hedge against inflation.

Gold bullions are displayed at Degussa shop in Singapore June 16, 2017. REUTERS/Edgar Su/Files

FUNDAMENTALS

* Spot gold was largely unchanged at $1,353.51 an ounce at 0125 GMT, after touching a three-week high of $1,357.08 the session before.

* The metal is up 2.7 percent so far this week, set for its strongest weekly performance since the week of April 29, 2016.

* U.S. gold futures climbed 0.1 percent to $1,356.2 per ounce.

* The dollar languished near a three-year low against a basket of currencies on Friday, heading for its biggest weekly loss in nine months, as a slew of bearish factors offset support for the U.S. currency from rising Treasury yields amid firming inflation.

* U.S. producer prices accelerated in January, boosted by strong gains in the cost of gasoline and healthcare, offering more evidence that inflation pressures are building up. The Labor Department said its producer price index for final demand rose 0.4 percent last month after being unchanged in December.

* In a second report on Thursday, the Labor Department said initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased by 7,000 to a seasonally adjusted 230,000 for the week ended Feb. 10.

* U.S. President Donald Trump’s tax reform will help boost U.S. growth in the short term but may have negative consequences such as on the deficit and debt in the medium term, said International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde.

* India’s trade deficit in January was the widest in more than 4-1/2 years as a surge in the country’s oil and coal import bill outweighed a rise in exports, government data showed on Thursday.

* SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings fell 0.29 percent to 821.30 tonnes on Thursday from 823.66 tonnes on Wednesday.

* Polyus, Russia’s largest gold producer, posted a 7-percent increase in 2017 adjusted net profit to $1.02 billion, the company said on Thursday.

* Australia’s top gold miner, Newcrest Mining Ltd, on Thursday reported a 58-percent fall in half-year underlying profit, dragged down by disruptions such as an earthquake hitting one of its key sites earlier in 2017.

Reporting by Eileen Soreng in BengaluruEditing by Joseph Radford

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