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PRECIOUS-Gold holds near 5-mth peak; heads for best week since last April

    April 14 Gold prices on Friday hovered near
5-month highs hit in the previous session, with trade thinned by
public holidays in many countries.
    The metal was set for its biggest weekly percentage rise
since April last year as a weaker dollar and geopolitical
worries over the Middle East and North Korea fueled safe-haven
demand.
      
    FUNDAMENTALS
    * Spot gold        was steady at $1,287.32 per ounce by 0200
 GMT. Prices hit their highest since early November at $1,288.64
an ounce the session before. 
    * The metal was on track for its biggest weekly gain since
late-April last year, up about 2.7 percent this week.
    * U.S. gold futures         were up 0.9 percent at
$1,290.10.
    * The dollar nursed losses on Friday, on track for a losing
week as geopolitical tensions underpinned the perceived
safe-haven Japanese currency.       
    * U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday that North
Korea is a problem that "will be taken care of", as China urged
caution and speculation rose that Pyongyang might be on the
verge of a sixth nuclear test.                          
    * The U.S. military said on Thursday that it dropped "the
mother of all bombs," the largest non-nuclear device it has ever
unleashed in combat, on a network of caves and tunnels used by
Islamic State in eastern Afghanistan.             
    * The U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State on Thursday
denied a Syrian army report it had carried out an air strike
that had hit poison gas supplies belonging to IS and caused the
deaths of hundreds of people.             
    * The number of Americans filing for unemployment aid
unexpectedly fell last week and consumer sentiment rose early
this month.             
    * China's 2017 export outlook brightened considerably on
Thursday as it reported forecast-beating trade growth in March
and as Trump softened his anti-China rhetoric in an abrupt
policy shift.             
    * Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust      , the world's largest
gold-backed exchange-traded fund, rose 0.77 percent to 848.92
tonnes on Thursday.          
    *  Gold was sold at a discount to official prices in India
this week for the first time in six weeks, while demand
elsewhere in Asia remained subdued as surging bullion prices
turned off buyers.         
    * India's gold imports surged by more than four times to
$4.2 billion in March, data released by the government showed on
Thursday.             
    * South Africa's mined gold output fell 16.8 percent in
February, Statistics South Africa said on Thursday.             
    * One of the portfolio managers behind BlackRock Inc's
        largest mutual fund says his team has been buying
safe-haven assets such as gold and Treasuries to protect from
"known unknowns" in global politics.             
    * A consortium led by China's Fosun International Ltd
          plans to buy between 20 and 25 percent in Russia's top
gold producer Polyus           for up to $2 billion, RIA news
agency reported, citing documents of a Russian-Chinese
intergovernmental commission.             

    DATA AHEAD  (GMT)
    1230  U.S.   CPI index            March
    1230  U.S.   Retail Sales         March 
    1400  U.S.   Business inventories February    

 (Reporting by Swati Verma in Bengaluru; Editing by Joseph
Radford)
  
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