February 19, 2018 / 3:23 AM / a month ago

Gold steady as dollar tries to regain footing

LONDON (Reuters) - Gold prices were mostly flat on Monday as the dollar clawed back some recent losses and stocks rose, but U.S. inflation fears kept buyers in the metal.

FILE PHOTO - A sales person shows a gold ring to customers at a jewellery showroom during Dhanteras, a Hindu festival associated with Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, in Ahmedabad, India, October 28, 2016. REUTERS/Amit Dave/File photo

Spot gold was flat at $1,347.31 an ounce at 1124 GMT.

The metal rose 2.4 percent last week in its biggest weekly gain in more than five months.

U.S. gold slipped 0.4 percent to $1,350 per ounce.

“Gold is doing relatively well in a risk-on environment. The safe-haven appeal (in gold) is a bit in question but it has a lot to do with movements in the dollar which has recovered somewhat,” said ABN AMRO commodity strategist Georgette Boele.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, was firm on Monday after shedding 1.4 percent last week.

Investors piled into gold last week on concerns that U.S. inflation could heat up.

In wider markets, world stocks extended their recovery on Monday while oil inched higher. [MKTS/GLOB][O/R]

The minutes of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s last policy meeting, held amid the equities tumble on Jan. 30-31, are due on Wednesday. Besides the outlook on rates, markets will be keen to see what the Fed made of the market gyrations.

A 37-page indictment filed by U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller charged 13 Russians and three Russian companies with meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Russia denounced the allegations.

Gold is often used as a hedge against geopolitical uncertainty.

Hedge funds and money managers cut their net long positions in COMEX gold in the week to Feb. 13, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data showed on Friday.

Trading is expected to be slower than usual this week due Lunar New Year celebrations in China. Monday is also a market holiday in the United States.

SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings rose 0.39 percent to 824.54 tonnes on Friday. [GOL/ETF]

Among other precious metals, silver was steady at $16.67 an ounce after falling 1.2 percent in the previous session.

Platinum was up 0.8 percent at $1,010 an ounce, after earlier touching its highest in over three weeks at $1,013.50.

Palladium rose 0.2 percent to $1,045.99 an ounce after touching its highest in about two weeks.

“Palladium has been expensive and overvalued for a long time now so I could see it go lower from here,” ABN AMRO’s Boelle said.

Additional reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; Editing by Mark Potter

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