Gold held steady on Wednesday, supported by a weaker dollar, geopolitical concerns about North Korea and nervousness ahead of the French presidential election.
* Spot gold was down 90 cents at $1,288.39 per ounce as of 0055 GMT. The metal hit its highest since early November at $1,295.42 on Monday before closing lower, and rose 0.4 percent on Tuesday.
* U.S. gold futures were down 0.3 percent at $1,290.10 * The dollar index was hovering near a three-week low on disappointing U.S. housing starts data and nervousness over trade talks between the United States and Japan.
* U.S. homebuilding fell in March after unseasonably mild weather buoyed activity in February and manufacturing output dropped for the first time in seven months, further indications that economic growth braked sharply in the first quarter.
* U.S. Vice President Mike Pence reassured Japan of American commitment to reining in North Korea’s nuclear and missile ambitions on Tuesday, after warning that U.S. strikes in Syria and Afghanistan showed the strength of its resolve.
* In France, investors remained nervous ahead of the first round of the country’s presidential election this Sunday, even though an opinion poll put centrist Emmanuel Macron first, just ahead of far-right, anti-euro candidate Marine Le Pen.
* British Prime Minister Theresa May’s call for a snap general election added to a lengthening list of uncertainties for investors already on edge over geopolitical tensions that also include Syria, Afghanistan, Turkey and U.S. relations with Russia and China.
* The International Monetary Fund raised its 2017 global growth forecast on Tuesday due to manufacturing and trade gains in Europe, Japan and China, but warned that protectionist policies threaten to choke a broad-based recovery.
* Prices in China’s sizzling property market, a major driver of growth in the world’s second largest economy, accelerated in March on a monthly basis, shaking off the impact of recent cooling measures introduced to dampen speculative demand.