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Gold down on US dollar strength, political risks lend support

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Gold prices edged lower on Friday and were headed for a weekly decline as positive US economic data buoyed the US dollar, but uncertainty over upcoming elections in Europe and Britain's exit from the European Union capped losses.

[BENGALURU] Gold prices edged lower on Friday and were headed for a weekly decline as positive US economic data buoyed the US dollar, but uncertainty over upcoming elections in Europe and Britain's exit from the European Union capped losses.

"In the short term, factors including a strengthening US dollar could pull prices down to around the US$1,230 an ounce range," said Yuichi Ikemizu, head of commodity trading at Standard Bank in Tokyo.

"However, the fundamentals are still bullish for gold, especially with the upcoming elections in France and elsewhere in Europe. So prices are not really expected to go much lower from here."

Spot gold was down 0.2 per cent on the day at US$1,240.45 per ounce at 0255 GMT, and was set for a similar sized weekly loss, which would be its first weekly decline in three.

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US gold futures fell 0.4 per cent to US$1,239.70.

The US dollar index was up 0.1 per cent at 100.54, near a two-week high hit earlier in the session, supported by solid US economic data.

US economic growth slowed less than previously reported in the fourth quarter as robust consumer spending provided a boost that was partially offset by the largest gain in imports in two years.

The greenback was further supported by comments from New York Federal Reserve President William Dudley that reinforced the notion that core US central bankers are confidently on the road to tighter monetary policy after having hiked interest rates twice in three months.

Meanwhile, holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, which is seen as a gauge of investment sentiment, reported an outflow of 1.2 tonnes on Thursday.

However, the potential for the rise of the far right in European elections this year, along with British Prime Minister Theresa May formally triggering divorce proceedings from the EU on Wednesday enhanced gold's appeal as a safe-haven investment.

The EU will tell Britain on Friday how it aims to negotiate its "orderly withdrawal" from the bloc, limit uncertainties for businesses and pave the way for a close future partnership.

Spot silver was down 0.2 per cent to US$18.05 per ounce, having touched US$18.29, in the previous session, its highest since March 2.

Platinum fell 0.1 per cent to US$941.75 per ounce, after hitting its lowest in just over two weeks at US$941.15 earlier in the session.

Palladium eased 0.4 per cent to US$790.50 an ounce.

REUTERS

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