July 17, 2015
Gold near eight-month low on U.S. rate hike expectations, eyes fourth weekly drop
(Reuters)- Gold held near its lowest level in eight months on Friday and is set to extend its losing run to a fourth week, pressured by expectations that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates this year.
* Spot gold XAU= was little changed at $1,143.96 an ounce by 0043 GMT, not far above Thursday's trough of $1,142.10, its lowest since November 2014. Gold has lost nearly 2 percent for the week.
* U.S. gold for August delivery GCcv1 was also steady at $1,142.90 an ounce.
* Bullion took a hit this week after Federal Reserve Chair Yellen told Congress that the U.S. central bank is on track to lift interest rates this year if the U.S. economy expands as expected.
* The dollar climbed to a seven-week high versus a basket of currencies, dragging down gold.
* Indicating underlying momentum in the U.S. economy, the number of Americans filing new applications for unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week and confidence among homebuilders was at more than a 9-1/2-year high in July.
* Yellen said on Thursday she was open to raising a threshold for determining a bank's systemic importance and indicated that U.S. lenders had made progress in their submissions of so-called living will plans this month.
* Europe moved to re-open funding to Greece's stricken economy after the parliament in Athens approved a new bailout programme in a fractious vote that left the government without a majority.
* Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust (GLD), the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, slipped 0.2 percent to 707.88 tonnes on Thursday.