Gold inches up, but heads for first weekly loss in six

Key Points
  • Gold prices edged up on Friday, supported by a weaker dollar
  • Legislation to avoid a U.S. government shutdown was passed by the House, but it faced uncertain prospects in the Senate
  • The precious metal was still on track for its first weekly drop in six weeks
Gold bullion bars and coins.
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Gold prices edged up on Friday, supported by a weaker dollar and worries about a possible U.S. government shutdown, but the precious metal was still on track for its first weekly drop in six weeks.

Spot gold was up 0.1 percent at $1,328.98 an ounce by 0111 GMT. Gold on Thursday touched its weakest level since Jan. 12 at $1,323.70 on Thursday, having fallen from recent four-month highs.

Spot gold has fallen 0.8 percent so far this week, its worst since the week-ending Dec. 8.

U.S. gold futures were up 0.1 percent at $1,327.90.

The U.S. dollar fell on Thursday amid worries over a possible U.S. government shutdown. The dollar index was mostly unchanged at 90.495 on Friday.

Legislation to avoid a U.S. government shutdown at midnight on Friday advanced in Congress, as the House of Representatives on Thursday night approved an extension of federal funds through Feb. 16, although the bill faced uncertain prospects in the Senate.

The dollar has fallen since 2017 largely on expectations central banks besides the Federal Reserve are seeking to end their policy of ultra low, even negative, rates that they adopted to combat the 2008 global financial crisis and the recession that followed.

Meanwhile, bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies staged a modest rebound following two days of heavy losses tied to fears about regulatory clamp-down around the world.

Asia stocks edged higher on Friday and were within reach of record highs.

Gold prices likely to end 2018 closer to the $1,280 range: ETF Securities

The U.S. Federal Reserve should raise interest rates three to four times in both 2018 and 2019, Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank President Loretta Mester said on Thursday, a pace that is a bit faster than many of her fellow policymakers prefer.

Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, rose 1.42 percent to 840.76 tonnes on Thursday from Wednesday.

Environmental regulators ordered Barrick Gold to close the Chilean side of its stalled Pascua-Lama mining project on Thursday, but reduced a 2013 fine for violations by more than 25 percent to $11.5 million.

Platinum miner Lonmin has received a further waiver on its debt agreements from its lenders, preventing a default, the South Africa-focused company said on Thursday.

The Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine in Mongolia's southern Gobi Desert declared force majeure after protests by Chinese coal haulers disrupted deliveries near the border, majority owner Turquoise Hill said Wednesday.