PRECIOUS-Gold inches up after slumping to over 4-mth low

Last Updated: Fri, Dec 08, 2017 07:00 hrs

Dec 8 (Reuters) - Gold edged up in early Asian trade on Friday, after dropping below its recent trading range to hit a more than four-month low overnight. FUNDAMENTALS * Spot gold was up nearly 0.2 percent at $1,248.29 an ounce by 0102 GMT, after hitting its lowest since July 26 at $1,243.71 on Thursday. * U.S. gold futures were 0.2 percent lower at $1,250.10. * The dollar inched higher on Friday, on track for a weekly gain against a basket of currencies, as the passage of a bill to temporarily extend U.S. government funding raised investors' optimism that a tax reform bill would also pass. * Two U.S. B-1B heavy bombers joined large-scale combat drills over South Korea on Thursday amid warnings from North Korea that the exercises and U.S. threats have made the outbreak of war "an established fact." * The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week, suggesting a rapid tightening of the labor market that bolsters expectations the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates next week. * The Islamist group Hamas urged Palestinians on Thursday to abandon peace efforts and launch a new uprising against Israel in response to U.S. President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as its capital. * Bitcoin rocketed to a lifetime high just shy of $16,000 after climbing some 60 percent over one week, intensifying the debate about whether the cryptocurrency is in a bubble about to burst. * Euro zone governments could issue more bonds next year than the European Central Bank is likely to buy for the first time since before the central bank launched its massive stimulus to boost growth and inflation in the single currency bloc. * Japan's central bank governor said on Thursday changes in the economy and financial system could trigger a hike in the bank's yield targets, a key monetary policy lever, offering the strongest signal to date it may edge away from crisis-mode stimulus. * SPDR Gold Trust , the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings fell 0.31 percent to 842.81 tonnes on Thursday from 845.47 tonnes on Wednesday. * Demand for physical gold picked up slightly in most Asian centres this week as prices fell, but a drop in local rates to four-month lows failed to lure buyers in India even amidst the key wedding season. DATA/EVENT AHEAD (GMT) * China Trade data Nov 0700 Germany Trade data Oct 0745 France Industrial output Oct 1330 U.S. Nonfarm payrolls Nov 1330 U.S. Unemployment rate Nov 1500 U.S. Univ of Michigan sentiment index Dec 1500 U.S. Wholesale sales Oct *No fixed timing (Reporting by Apeksha Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)

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