October 25, 2019 / 1:43 AM / 24 days ago

PRECIOUS-Gold hits 2-week high as weak U.S. data boosts rate-cut bets

Oct 25 (Reuters) - Gold rose to a fresh two-week high on Friday, as weak U.S. economic data spurred expectations for another interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve later this month.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Spot gold hit its highest since Oct. 10 at $1,504.35 and was slightly down at $1,501.67 per ounce, as of 0117 GMT. For the week, the metal has gained 0.8% so far. U.S. gold futures were flat at $1,504.40 per ounce on Friday.

* New orders for key U.S.-made capital goods fell more than expected in September and shipments also declined, a sign that business investment remains soft amid the fallout from the U.S.-China trade war but other data on Thursday showed the spat has yet to have much effect on the overall jobs market.

* The U.S. Federal Reserve has cut interest rates twice this year and investors currently see another reduction in borrowing costs when policymakers meet next week as the economy struggles with the headwinds from a long-drawn U.S.-China trade war and slowing global growth.

* Federal fund futures imply that traders see a 90.4% chance for a 25 basis point rate cut by the U.S. central bank in its month-end monetary policy meeting.

* The non-yielding bullion is often seen as a safer investment during times of political and financial uncertainty.

* In Europe, Prime Minister Boris Johnson called on Thursday for a general election on Dec. 12 to break Britain's Brexit impasse, conceding for the first time he will not meet his "do or die" deadline to leave the European Union next week.

* Asian shares inched up on Friday, tracking small gains in the global markets as positive earnings helped to offset economic growth concerns, while sterling weakened as the prospect of a UK election added fresh uncertainty to Brexit dramas.

* China's net gold imports via Hong Kong fell 9% in September from the previous month mainly due to softer demand and possible measures by Beijing to prop up the yuan.

* Holdings of the largest gold-backed exchange-traded-fund (ETF), New York's SPDR Gold Trust, fell 0.13% on Wednesday from Tuesday, while the largest silver-backed ETF, New York's iShares Silver Trust, remained unchanged during the same period.

* Platinum rose 0.2% to $925.83 per ounce, after scaling a more than three-week high in the previous session.

DATA/EVENTS (GMT) 800 Germany Ifo Business Climate New Oct 0800 Germany Ifo Curr Conditions New Oct 0800 Germany Ifo Expectations New Oct 1400 US U Mich Sentiment Final Oct (Reporting by Diptendu Lahiri in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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