August 25, 2017
PRECIOUS-Gold steady ahead of central bank speeches at Jackson
(Reuters) - Gold was unchanged early Friday, with investors awaiting directional clues from speeches due later in the day at a gathering of central bankers in the United States.
Spot gold was unchanged at $1,286.48 an ounce by 0343 GMT, after dropping nearly 0.3 percent in the previous session.
U.S. gold futures for December delivery were flat at $1,291.40 per ounce.
"Gold markets are basically in a holding pattern. They would be carefully scrutinising comments from the Federal Reserve and European Central Bank officials as to the their outlook for inflation, and resultant monetary policy stance," John Sharma, Economist at National Australia Bank said.
Fed Chair Janet Yellen and ECB President Mario Draghi are set to speak later in the day at the central bankers symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Although no new policy messages are expected from either, investors will be watching for clues on outlook for monetary policy and interest rates.
The world's top central bankers will meet with their confidence bolstered by a sustained return to economic growth that may eventually allow the European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan to follow the Federal Reserve in winding down their crisis-era policies.
Bullion is highly sensitive to rising U.S. interest rates, as these increase the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion, while boosting the dollar, in which it is priced.
The dollar was buoyant against the yen on Friday as some participants bought back the currency to square positions ahead of the Jackson Hole meeting.
Preventing gold prices from retreating significantly were escalating geopolitical concerns, market participants said.
"Political uncertainty remains high and continues to provide a strong level of support to prices. Trump's barrage of tweets during negotiations over the debt ceiling continues to fuel a level of uncertainty in the market," ANZ analyst Daniel Hynes said in a note.
President Donald Trump on Thursday picked a new fight with his fellow Republicans, saying congressional leaders could have avoided a "mess" over raising the U.S. debt ceiling if they had taken his advice.
Gold is used as an alternative investment during times of political and financial uncertainty.
Spot gold looks neutral in a range of $1,282-$1,289 per ounce, and an escape could suggest a direction, Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao said.
Meanwhile, top consumer China's net gold imports via main conduit Hong Kong increased 2.3 percent in July from the previous month, data showed on Thursday.
Among other precious metals, silver edged up 0.2 percent at $16.96 an ounce, while platinum fell 0.6 percent to $972.50 an ounce.
Palladium was up 0.1 pct to $932.70 per ounce.