January 25, 2019 / 1:31 AM / 6 months ago

PRECIOUS-Gold firm on global growth worries, U.S. govt shutdown

Jan 25 (Reuters) - Gold prices held steady on Friday, supported by worries over a slowing global economy and a prolonged U.S. government shutdown, but the safe-haven metal's gains were capped by a strong technical resistance and a firmer U.S. dollar.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Spot gold was firm at $1,280.66 per ounce, as of 0059 GMT, while U.S. gold futures were steady at $1,279.90 per ounce.

* The United States and China are "miles and miles" from resolving trade issues, but there is a fair chance the two countries will get a deal, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Thursday.

* Chinese Vice Premier Liu He will visit the United States on Jan. 30 and 31 for the next round of trade negotiations with Washington.

* On top of the U.S.-China trade war and its global effects, investors also worried about the economic impact of the longest U.S. government shutdown in history, now in its 35th day.

* Two bills to end the partial U.S. government shutdown - one backed by Republicans and one by Democrats - failed to win enough votes in the Senate as lawmakers eyed other potential compromises to end the impasse with the White House.

* European Central Bank President Mario Draghi acknowledged on Thursday that economic growth in the euro zone was likely to be weaker than earlier expected due to the fall-out from factors ranging from China's slowdown to Brexit.

* The euro struggled near a six-week low versus the dollar following dovish-sounding comments from the ECB president. The dollar index saw its best one-day gain since early January on Thursday, rising 0.5 percent.

* A firmer dollar makes gold more expensive for holders of other currencies.

* A synchronised global economic slowdown is under way and any escalation in the U.S.-China trade war would trigger a sharper downturn, according to Reuters polls of hundreds of economists from around the world.

* Data showed last week's applications for U.S. unemployment benefits falling to a more than 49-year low though claims for several states including California were estimated.

* The British parliament will debate and vote on Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit "plan B" on Jan. 29, and the U.S. Federal Reserve concludes a two-day policy setting meeting on Jan. 30.

* Gold's repeated attempts to cross the key psychological resistance at $1,300 per ounce has failed, discouraging bullion investors from accumulating the metal, analysts said.

* Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd (ANZ) , whose gold bullion business is one of Asia's largest, said on Thursday it was closing its precious metals vault in Singapore. (Reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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