March 7, 2019 / 1:44 AM / 3 months ago

PRECIOUS-Gold steadies on growth worries, dull equities; ECB meeting eyed

March 7 (Reuters) - Gold held steady on Thursday, supported by concerns over global growth as well as tepid equity markets, while a firm dollar curbed gains ahead of European Central Bank’s policy meeting due later in the day.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Spot gold was up 0.1 percent at $1,287.24 per ounce as of 0132 GMT.

* U.S. gold futures were flat at $1,288.10 an ounce.

* The Organisation for Economic Co-Operation & Development cut forecasts again for the global economy in 2019 and 2020 as it warned that trade disputes and uncertainty over Brexit would hit world commerce and businesses.

* Asian shares rose marginally in early trade on Thursday, with caution prevailing as investors awaited some kind of resolution to Sino-U.S. trade negotiations, while the euro remained under pressure ahead of the European Central Bank meeting.

* The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against major currencies, was holding near its more than two-week high posted earlier in the week.

* U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that trade talks with China were moving along well and predicted either a “good deal” or no deal between the world’s two largest economies.

* Trump also said he would be very disappointed in North Korean leader Kim Jong Un if reports about rebuilding at a rocket launch site in North Korea were true.

* The U.S. goods trade deficit surged to a record high in 2018 as strong domestic demand fuelled by lower taxes pulled in imports, despite the Trump administration’s “America First” policies, including tariffs, aimed at shrinking the trade gap.

* The U.S. dollar will lose strength against a basket of other major currencies over the coming year, according to a Reuters poll of strategists who also said a positive outcome to U.S.-China trade negotiations was already priced in to their outlook and will not likely give the greenback a lift.

* Britain said on Wednesday it was pushing forward with plans to find alternative arrangements to eliminate the need for an Irish “backstop” in Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal, part of a bid to break the impasse weeks before Britain exits the EU.

* The global platinum market will see its largest surplus since at least 2013 this year, the World Platinum Investment Council said on Wednesday.

* Newmont Mining Corp said on Wednesday that initial talks on a possible Nevada joint venture with Barrick Gold Corp were productive.

DATA AHEAD (GMT) 0830 UK Halifax house prices (Feb) (Reporting by K. Sathya Narayanan in Bengaluru; Editing by Shreejay Sinha)

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