Gold prices firm as dollar eases on grim U.S. retail sales

(Reuters) - Gold prices firmed on Friday as the dollar weakened slightly after disappointing U.S. data indicated slowing economic momentum, supporting the U.S

Reuters February 15, 2019 07:05:30 IST
Gold prices firm as dollar eases on grim U.S. retail sales

Gold prices firm as dollar eases on grim US retail sales

(Reuters) - Gold prices firmed on Friday as the dollar weakened slightly after disappointing U.S. data indicated slowing economic momentum, supporting the U.S. Federal Reserve's "patient" monetary policy approach.

FUNDAMENTALS

Spot gold was little changed at $1,312.82 per ounce at 0009 GMT. It rose 0.5 percent in the previous session in its biggest intraday gain since Jan. 30.

U.S. gold futures were up 0.1 percent at $1,315 an ounce.

The dollar index, a gauge of its strength versus six major peers was marginally lower at 97.01.

U.S. retail sales recorded their biggest drop in more than nine years in December as receipts fell across the board, suggesting a sharp slowdown in economic activity at the end of 2018.

Further dimming investor sentiment was other data showing an unexpected increase in the number of Americans filing claims for unemployment benefits last week and a second straight monthly decline in producer prices in January.

Thursday's data could bolster the Fed's stance of being "patient" on potential interest rate hikes.

Two White House negotiators in trade talks with China will meet on Friday with Chinese President Xi Jinping, but there has been no decision to extend a March 1 U.S. deadline for a deal, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Thursday.

President Donald Trump vowed on Thursday to declare a national emergency in an attempt to fund his U.S.-Mexico border wall without congressional approval, a step likely to plunge him into a court battle with Congress over constitutional powers.

Outside the United States, British Prime Minister Theresa May suffered a defeat on her Brexit strategy on Thursday that undermined her pledge to European Union leaders to get her divorce deal approved if they grant her concessions.

Germany's economy stalled in the final quarter of last year, just skirting recession as fallout from global trade disputes and Brexit put the brakes on a decade of expansion amid signs that exports will stay subdued for the time being.

Precious metal miner Sibanye-Stillwater could cut nearly 6,000 jobs in a potential restructuring of the company's gold mining operations following losses at some of its mines last year.

At least 23 illegal gold miners are trapped and feared dead in Zimbabwe after shafts and underground tunnels they were working in were flooded by water from a burst dam, a state-owned daily newspaper reported on Thursday.

(Reporting by Karthika Suresh Namboothiri in Bengalurup; Editing by Joseph Radford)

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