February 6, 2018 / 1:37 AM / 15 days ago

PRECIOUS-Gold holds steady as equities fall; rate outlook keeps lid on prices

    Feb 6 (Reuters) - Gold prices held steady on Tuesday, buoyed
by a tumble in global equity markets but pressured by
expectations for more U.S. interest rate hikes this year.
  
    FUNDAMENTALS  
    * Spot gold        was largely unchanged at $1,338.62 an
ounce at 0112 GMT, after rising 0.5 percent on Monday. 
    * The metal on Friday fell 1.2 percent in its biggest
one-day decline since Dec. 7. Last week, gold saw its largest
weekly drop since the week ending Dec. 8.
    * U.S. gold futures         were up 0.4 percent at $1,342
per ounce.
    * The U.S. Federal Reserve last week held interest rates
unchanged, but raised its inflation outlook and flagged "further
gradual" rate increases.             
    * Stock markets were routed around the globe as resurgent
U.S. inflation raised the possibility that the Fed would tighten
policy more aggressively than previously expected.            
    * But U.S. interest rates futures jumped on Monday as
traders dialled back expectations the Federal Reserve would
quicken its pace of interest rate increases in the wake of a
dramatic sell-off in Wall Street stocks, with the Dow losing
over 1,000 points.             
    * With the price of palladium spiking to a record-high last
month, the effects could be felt in the automotive industry as
manufacturers of catalytic converters consider raising their
prices and may change the mix of metals in their products.
            
    * International mining companies operating in the Democratic
Republic of Congo are mounting a coordinated campaign against a
new mining code they say will stifle investment there,
Randgold's         chief executive told Reuters.
                        
    * India's gold imports in January dropped to their lowest in
17 months as prices rebounded and buyers postponed purchases in
expectation of cuts in the import tax, provisional data from
precious metals consultancy GFMS and bank dealers showed.
            
    * A third of South Africa's largest mining companies are not
considering any new investments in the sector in 2018, while one
of them may even decide to pull out of the country, according to
an industry survey unveiled by the Chamber of Mines on Monday.
            
     
    DATA AHEAD (GMT)
    
    0700  Germany    Industrial orders       Dec
    1330  U.S.       International trade     Dec

 (Reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru
Editing by Joseph Radford)
  
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