Gold steadies on prospect of imminent U.S. rate rises | Reuters
By Marcy Nicholson and Pratima Desai | NEW YORK/LONDON NEW YORK/LONDON Gold prices were little changed on Monday as the prospect of imminent interest rate rises kept them near the five-week lows touched last week, while elections in Europe created uncertainty and fuelled investor buying.Spot gold XAU= was down 0.01 percent at $1,204.30 an ounce by 3:08 p.m. EST (1908 GMT)
By Marcy Nicholson and Pratima Desai
| NEW YORK/LONDON
NEW YORK/LONDON Gold prices were little changed on Monday as the prospect of imminent interest rate rises kept them near the five-week lows touched last week, while elections in Europe created uncertainty and fuelled investor buying.Spot gold XAU= was down 0.01 percent at $1,204.30 an ounce by 3:08 p.m. EST (1908 GMT). That compares with $1,194.55 last Friday, its lowest level since Jan. 31. U.S. gold futures GCcv1 settled up 0.1 percent at $1,203.10.Investors are focussing on Wednesday's Dutch elections. The chance of a eurosceptic party coming to power in the Netherlands is seen as small but a strong election performance could fuel speculation of a surprise result in French presidential elections in April and May. [MKTS/GLOB]Wednesday is also the second day of the U.S. Federal Reserve's two-day meeting. The widely expected decision to raise rates could boost the U.S. currency, which when it rises makes dollar-priced commodities more expensive for non-U.S. firms. [FRX/]
"A rate rise from the Fed is pretty much priced in, we're probably going to see two more hikes this year," said Oxford Economics analyst Daniel Smith. "A period of higher rates will tend to mean pressure on gold prices."The statement from the Fed, due to be released Wednesday at 2 p.m. (1800 GMT) followed by a briefing at 1830 GMT, will be scrutinized for any changes in thinking among policymakers. "Now, the debate shifts to Fed dots," said Wayne Gordon, analyst for UBS Wealth Management, retaining a long view and target price for gold at $1,300 per ounce.
"Some see the dots rising, and this week's quarterly Fed projections show a median of four. But we believe this year's dots will remain unchanged at three," he said, referring to the Fed policy-makers' forecasts that will be issued on Wednesday. Traders said gold would have to close above $1,209, the 55-day moving average, to make further headway on the upside. Downside support remains at the psychological level of $1,200 an ounce.
Recent selling by investors can be seen in the holdings of SPDR Gold Trust (GLD), the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, which fell 1.06 percent to 825.22 tonnes on Friday. [GOL/ETF]Hedge funds and money managers also slashed their net long positions in COMEX gold from the highest in three months in the week to March 7, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data showed on Friday.Silver XAG= slid 0.6 percent to $16.92 an ounce, platinum XPT= lost 0.5 percent to $937.25 an ounce and palladium XPD= rose 0.95 percent to $750.75 an ounce. (Additional reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; Editing by Greg Mahlich and Chizu Nomiyama)
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By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.