PRECIOUS-Gold prices rise as dollar gives up gains

Last Updated: Thu, Feb 16, 2017 07:00 hrs

Feb 16 (Reuters) - Gold prices inched up on Thursday as the dollar drifted down from one-month highs hit in the previous session on upbeat U.S. economic data. FUNDAMENTALS * Spot gold had edged up 0.1 percent to $1,233.16 per ounce at 0053 GMT, while U.S. gold futures were up 0.1 percent at $1,234.6. * U.S. retail sales rose more than expected in January and consumer prices recorded their biggest gain in nearly four years, boosting prospects of an interest rate increase from the Federal Reserve next month. * The dollar index was down 0.2 percent at 100.98. It had rallied to its highest since Jan. 12 at 101.76 after the data was released. * Republican lawmakers on Wednesday criticized Fed Chair Janet Yellen's stewardship of the U.S. economy and urged her to halt work on financial regulation until President Donald Trump names new policymakers to the central bank. * In a tense hearing before the House of Representatives' Financial Services Committee, Republicans made clear they will keep pressing the Fed to trim its large holdings of bonds and set interest rates based on established mathematical rules. * Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker on Wednesday said his view that the economy is ready for three rate hikes this year does not depend on any fiscal policy changes under Trump. * Barrick Gold Corp reported better-than-expected profits and ambitious debt reduction plans on Wednesday, saying its balance sheet is now healthy enough to boost dividends and exploration spending. * Goldman Sachs on Wednesday raised its expectations that the Fed will hike interest rates in the first half of 2017, and J.P. Morgan brought forward its forecast of the next rate increase to May, following robust economic data for January. * Potential anti-establishment upsets in national elections in France, the Netherlands and Germany, alongside a global rise in protectionism pose the biggest threats to the euro zone economy, according to a majority of economists polled by Reuters. * Holdings in SPDR Gold Trust , the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, rose 0.32 percent to 843.54 tonnes on Wednesday. DATA AHEAD (GMT) 1330 U.S. Building permits Jan 1330 U.S. Housing starts Jan 1330 U.S. Weekly jobless claims 1330 U.S. Philly Fed business index Feb (Reporting by Arpan Varghese in Bengaluru; Editing by Joseph Radford)

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