March 14, 2019 / 1:26 AM / 3 months ago

PRECIOUS-Gold hovers near 2-wk high on tepid U.S. data, Brexit vote

March 14 (Reuters) - Gold held close to two-week highs on Thursday as the U.S. dollar eased after British lawmakers rejected a no-deal Brexit in any scenario and as tepid U.S. inflation data reduced the chance of future U.S. interest rate hikes.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Spot gold was down 0.1 percent at $1,307.53 per ounce by 0110 GMT, after touching its highest since March 1 at $1,311.07 in the previous session.

* U.S. gold futures were also down 0.1 percent at $1,308 an ounce.

* The dollar was down for a fifth straight session against major currencies.

* Asian shares paused on Thursday as investors waited for data from China for clues about the health of the world’s second largest economy, while the pound shot up to near nine-month highs as the risk of a no-deal Brexit receded following a late-night vote.

* The British parliament on Wednesday rejected leaving the European Union without a deal, further weakening Prime Minister Theresa May and paving the way for a vote that could delay Brexit until at least the end of June.

* U.S. producer prices barely rose in February, resulting in the smallest annual increase in more than 1-1/2 years, in the latest sign of benign inflation that supports the Federal Reserve’s wait-and-see approach to further interest rate hikes this year.

* U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he was in no rush to complete a trade pact with China and insisted that any deal include protection for intellectual property, a major sticking point between the two sides during months of negotiations.

* The U.S. Senate appeared poised to pass a proposal to terminate Trump’s declaration of an emergency at the southern border, despite his threat to veto the measure and heavy lobbying of his fellow Republicans.

* Japan’s government is considering a slight downgrade to its assessment of the economy in its monthly report for March as exports and factory output fell due slowing demand from China, the Nikkei business daily reported on Thursday.

* Ugandan authorities said on Wednesday that they were investigating the country’s biggest gold refinery over recent imports of an estimated 7.4 tonnes of gold, worth some $300 million.

* Societe Generale forecast gold prices to average $1,400 an ounce in 12 months.

DATA AHEAD (GMT) 0200 China Industrial output (Feb) 0200 China Retail Sales (Feb) 0630 India WPI Inflation (Feb) 0700 Germany CPI Final (Feb) 0700 Germany Harmonized consumer prices (HICP) (Feb) 1400 U.S. New home sales-units (Jan) 1200 Possible vote in UK parliament on extending Brexit negotiating period Bank of Japan Monetary policy meeting (March 14-15) (Reporting by K. Sathya Narayanan in Bengaluru; Editing by Joseph Radford)

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