July 24, 2019 / 6:09 PM / 5 months ago

PRECIOUS-Gold rises on Fed rate cut bets, weak euro zone data

* Silver ETFs hit record high

* Platinum scales near three-month peak

* Euro zone PMI unexpectedly falls in July

* Markets eye ECB meeting on Thursday, U.S. Fed month-end meeting (Updates prices)

By K. Sathya Narayanan

July 24 (Reuters) - Gold gained on Wednesday en route to snap a three-session losing streak on expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve and other major central banks would adopt a dovish approach to monetary policy, while silver soared to a more than one-year high.

Spot gold was up about 0.5% at $1,423.30 an ounce as of 1:41 p.m. EDT (1741 GMT), below last week's peak of $1,452.60. U.S. gold futures settled 0.1% higher at $1,423.60.

"Much (of the gains in gold) have to do with expectations related to a Fed rate cut. If you get a rate cut, the opportunity cost of holding gold decreases and we will see more inflows into gold," said Natixis analyst Bernard Dahdah.

Investors expect the U.S. central bank to cut its overnight benchmark lending rate at its July 30-31 policy meeting.

Futures remain 100% priced for a rate cut of 25 basis points from the Fed and imply an 18% chance of 50 basis points.

Bullion also largely ignored a robust dollar, which held close to a seven-week peak against key rivals.

Gold priced in euros rose close to a 6-1/2 year high scaled last week, after weak euro zone data kindled expectations for aggressive monetary policy easing by the European Central Bank when it meets on Thursday.

The euro zone purchasing managers' index (PMI), considered a good guide to economic health, dropped to 51.5 this month from 52.2 in June, missing the median expectation in a Reuters poll for 52.1.

Gold gained on safe-haven bets following the PMI number out of Europe, David Meger, director of metals trading at High Ridge Futures, said.

Apart from expectations for dovish central bank policy globally, bullion is also being supported by U.S.-Iran tensions and ongoing trade war, Meger added.

A U.S. Navy ship took defensive action against a second Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz last week, but did not see the drone go into the water, the U.S. military said on Tuesday.

Silver gained 1.2% to $16.60 per ounce. It touched $16.64 earlier in the session, its highest in over an year.

"Silver is living up to its reputation of being volatile. ... Retail and institutional investors are looking into silver ETFs, indicating it is in demand again," said Quantitative Commodity Research analyst Peter Fertig.

Silver ETFs tracked by Reuters have risen to record levels, at 666.2 million ounces.

Platinum rose 2.6% to $876.39, having touched a near three-month high of $876.99 earlier in the session, while palladium edged up 0.5% to $1,535.13 per ounce.

Additional reporting by Nallur Sethuraman and Karthika Suresh Namboothiri in Bengaluru; editing by Susan Thomas, Chris Reese and Richard Chang

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