March 21, 2017 / 1:21 AM / in 7 months

PRECIOUS-Gold steady as Fed rate hike outlook weighs on dollar

    March 21 (Reuters) - Gold prices edged up on Tuesday to hold
near two-week highs hit in the previous session, with the dollar
dipping after the Chicago Federal Reserve's president said the
U.S. central bank would not rush to hike interest rates.
    
    FUNDAMENTALS
    * Spot gold        was up 0.1 percent at $1,234.40 per ounce
by 0045 GMT. On Monday, it touched its strongest since March 6
at $1,235.50.
    * U.S. gold futures         were mostly unchanged at
$1,234.60.
    * The dollar index       , which measures the greenback
against a basket of currencies, was down 0.2 percent at 100.190.
    * The Fed will likely wait at least until a June policy
meeting to decide whether to lift U.S. interest rates again,
giving it time to digest economic and financial market data as
well as any clarity on the Trump administration's fiscal policy
plans, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said on Monday.
            
    * Markets were bracing for a packed week of Fed messaging
with several policy makers set to speak, including Chair Janet
Yellen on Thursday.
    * Yellen's cautious guidance last week has investors pricing
in almost no chance of another rate rise at the next policy
meeting in May.           
    * While Asian shares have been supported by signs of strong
global economic growth, concerns about protectionism cast a
shadow after financial leaders of the world's biggest economies
dropped a pledge to keep global trade free and open, acquiescing
to an increasingly protectionist United States.              
    * Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust      , the world's largest
gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell 0.46 percent to 830.25
tonnes on Monday from 834.10 tonnes on Friday.          
    * Greece and its euro zone creditors are still at odds over
reforms required before new loans can be disbursed to Athens,
the head of euro zone finance ministers said on Monday after an
inconclusive meeting in Brussels.             
    * Ultra-low Bank of England interest rates since the
financial crisis have probably taken a modest toll on
productivity, but were a price worth paying to avoid higher
unemployment, Bank of England chief economist Andy Haldane said
on Monday.             
    * Russia's central bank, which is seeking to diversify the
country's official reserves, posted an increase in its gold
reserves in February, for the second consecutive month.
            
    
    DATA AHEAD (GMT)
    
    0930  Britain    Consumer prices    Feb 
    1230  U.S.       Current account    Q4 
    

 (Reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; Editing by Joseph
Radford)
  

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