April 29, 2019 / 6:55 AM / 25 days ago

PRECIOUS-Gold near 1-wk high; weak U.S. inflation prompts Fed rate cut bets

* SPDR gold holdings at lowest since Oct. 19

* Gold posted biggest daily percentage gain in 7-wks on Friday

* Palladium off one-month peak (Updates prices)

By Arijit Bose

April 29 (Reuters) - Gold prices were mostly unchanged on Monday, trading near the more-than one week high touched in the previous session, on bets that the U.S. Federal Reserve might cut interest rate this year after a recent data showed inflationary weakness.

Lower interest rates in the U.S. put pressure on the dollar and bond yields, making greenback-denominated gold less expensive for holders of other currencies. It also increases the appeal of non-yielding assets such as bullion.

Spot gold mildly eased by 0.1 percent to $1,284.31 per ounce at 0626 GMT, having hit its highest since April 16 at $1,288.59 in the previous session.

Meanwhile, U.S. gold futures shed 0.2 percent to $1,287.70 an ounce.

"The gross domestic product (GDP) figures that came out in the United States, cast some doubt on the state of its economy and the strength of the U.S. consumer," said IG Markets analyst Kyle Rodda, said adding that has prompted some traders to expect rate cut from the Fed.

The metal posted its biggest daily percentage gain in seven weeks on Friday after the dollar fell against a basket of currencies, as investors overlooked the strong economic growth in the United States to focus on the pain points.

Data showed that U.S. first quarter growth of 3.2 percent was only motivated by the short term stimuli of a dwindling trade deficit and the largest accumulation of unsold merchandise since 2015 which may later weigh on the country's economic picture.

Instead, core personal consumption expenditure price index figure, the Fed's preferred metric of inflation, increased at only a 1.3 percent rate versus 1.8 percent in the prior quarter.

About a third of economists polled by Reuters on April 25, already expect one real rate cut by 2020.

"The Fed is likely to wait until after the summer before signalling a rate cut, but if they are overly concerned with tame inflation, they could tee up a cut for the end of the year," Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA wrote in a note.

Holding a firm roof over a further rise in gold prices are upbeat equities that imbibed the momentary boost from the U.S. GDP figures beating analyst estimates.

A recent uplift in equities had kept gold under the wraps of-late with holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, falling 0.16 percent to its lowest since October 19 at 746.69 tonnes on Friday.

Holdings have fallen by over 3 percent since the beginning of this month.

Elsewhere, silver fell 0.2 percent to $15.03 per ounce, while platinum gained 0.6 percent to $899.75.

Palladium fell 0.6 percent to $1,455.51, having climbed to its highest in a month at $1,465.01 earlier in the session. (Reporting by Arijit Bose in Bengaluru; Editing by Joseph Radford and Uttaresh.V)

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