May 19, 2017
PRECIOUS-Gold rises, set for biggest weekly gain since mid-April
(Reuters) - Gold prices edged higher early Friday and were on track for their biggest weekly gain since mid-April as the dollar softened and stocks eased amid the ongoing political crisis in the United States that weakened risk appetite.
Spot gold rose 0.3 percent to $1,250.20 per ounce by 0102 GMT. It slipped 1.1 percent on Thursday in its biggest one-day percentage drop since May 3 to snap a five-day rally. The yellow metal was up about 1.8 percent for the week thus far.
U.S. gold futures were down 0.2 percent at $1,250.40 an ounce.
The dollar traded above six-month lows against an index of six major currencies on Friday but was down 0.1 percent after gaining some reprieve overnight, helped by solid U.S. economic data.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.3 percent.
President Donald Trump, striking a defiant tone on Thursday after days of political tumult, denied colluding with Russia during his 2016 campaign or asking former FBI Director James Comey to drop a probe into his former national security adviser.
Michael Flynn and other advisers to Trump's campaign were in contact with Russian officials and others with Kremlin ties in at least 18 calls and emails during the last seven months of the 2016 presidential race, current and former U.S. officials familiar with the exchanges told Reuters.
New applications for U.S. jobless benefits unexpectedly fell last week and the number of Americans on unemployment rolls tumbled to a 28-1/2-year low, pointing to rapidly shrinking labor market slack.
Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank President Loretta Mester on Thursday repeated her call for further U.S.-interest rate hikes now that the economy has reached full employment and inflation is nearing the Fed's 2-percent goal.
European Central Bank policymakers are preparing to dial back their extraordinary stimulus measures if the economy continues to improve, but that course of action is not yet certain, comments by three ECB rate setters and accounts of the latest meeting showed on Thursday.
Holdings in SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell 0.14 percent to 850.71 tonnes on Thursday.
Mali exported 67 tonnes of gold in 2016, down from 70.2 tonnes in 2015, due to a slight drop in production from small-scale artisanal miners, the country's national statistics institute said on Thursday.
Commerzbank is to close its physical precious metals business next year, a source with direct knowledge of the matter said on Thursday.