August 25, 2017 / 3:56 AM / a year ago

PRECIOUS-Gold steady ahead of speeches by Yellen, Draghi at Jackson Hole

    * Spot gold neutral in a range of $1,282-$1,289/oz-
    * Fed's Yellen to speak at 1400 GMT and ECB's Draghi at 1900
    * Geopolitical concerns support prices

 (Recasts, updates prices)
    By Apeksha Nair
    BENGALURU, Aug 25 (Reuters) - Gold prices were mostly
unchanged on Friday, with investors waiting for cues from
speeches by U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and European
Central Bank President Mario Draghi at a gathering of central
bankers in the United States.
    Spot gold        was unchanged at $1,286.65 an ounce by 0650
GMT, after dropping nearly 0.3 percent in the previous session.
    U.S. gold futures         for December delivery were flat at
$1,291.80 per ounce.  
    Although no new policy messages are expected from either
Yellen or Draghi, investors will be watching for clues on their
outlook on monetary policy and interest rates.                 
    The world's top central bankers are meeting with their
confidence bolstered by a sustained return to economic growth
that may eventually allow the European Central Bank and the Bank
of Japan to follow the Federal Reserve in winding down their
crisis-era policies.             
    "Gold markets are basically in a holding pattern. They would
 be carefully scrutinising comments from the Federal Reserve and
European Central Bank officials as to their outlook for
inflation, and resultant monetary policy stance," said John
Sharma, economist at National Australia Bank.
    Gold is highly sensitive to rising interest rates, as these
increase the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion,
while boosting the greenback.
    The dollar was buoyant against the yen on Friday as some
participants bought back the currency to square positions ahead
of the Jackson Hole meeting.       
    Escalating geopolitical concerns were also preventing gold
prices from retreating significantly, market participants said.
    "Political uncertainty remains high and continues to provide
a strong level of support to prices. Trump's barrage of tweets
during negotiations over the debt ceiling continues to fuel a
level of uncertainty in the market," ANZ analyst Daniel Hynes
said in a note.
    President Donald Trump on Thursday picked a new fight with
his fellow Republicans, saying congressional leaders could have
avoided a "mess" over raising the U.S. debt ceiling if they had
taken his advice.             
    Gold is used as an alternative investment during times of
political and financial uncertainty.
    Spot gold looks neutral in a range of $1,282-$1,289 per
ounce, and an escape could suggest a direction, Reuters
technical analyst Wang Tao said.             
    Among other precious metals, silver        edged up 0.3
percent to $16.97 an ounce, while platinum        slipped 0.1
percent to $977.50 an ounce.
    Palladium        was up 0.2 pct at $933.50 per ounce, and
had gained 1.2 percent so far in the week.

 (Reporting by Apeksha Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Sunil Nair
and Biju Dwarakanath)
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