February 8, 2019 / 1:14 AM / 15 days ago

PRECIOUS-Gold holds steady amid trade worries, but heads for weekly fall

Feb 8 (Reuters) - Gold held steady on Friday on worries that a protracted Sino-U.S. trade war could worsen global economic slowdown, but a strong dollar put bullion on track for its first weekly loss in three.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Spot gold was steady at $1,309.6 per ounce at 0050 GMT. Prices hit their lowest since Jan. 29 at $1,302.11 on Thursday, but ended the session up 0.3 percent. The metal was down 0.6 percent for this week.

* U.S. gold futures were also firm at $1,313.40.

* U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday he did not plan to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping before a March 1 deadline set by the two countries to achieve a trade deal. The two countries had taken a 90-day hiatus in their trade war to work out a deal.

* Stocks pulled back sharply around the world on Thursday on fears of a global growth slowdown spreading to Europe and worry about the chances for a resolution of U.S.-China trade tensions anytime soon.

* The European Commission sharply cut its forecasts for euro zone economic growth this year and next on expectations the bloc’s largest countries will be held back by global trade tensions and domestic challenges.

* German industrial output unexpectedly fell in December for the fourth consecutive month, sending another signal that growth in Europe’s biggest economy is weakening.

* The number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits dropped from near a 1-1/2-year high last week, but the decline was less than expected, suggesting some moderation in the pace of job growth.

* The dollar index, a gauge of its value versus six major peers, was hovering close to its two-week high in early Asian trade.

* A stronger greenback makes dollar-denominated gold more expensive for holders of other currencies.

* Liquidity in gold markets is expected to remain light in Asian hours with China closed for the Lunar New Year holiday this week.

* Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell for a fifth straight session on Thursday. Holdings fell 0.80 percent from Wednesday.

* An India state will give gold worth about $530 to every bride from a poor family, the latest budget giveaway ahead of a general election that must be held by May. (Reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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