Gold prices held firm on Friday not far from over one-week highs hit the session before, remaining on course for their first weekly rise in three. Spot gold had edged down 0.1 percent to $1,224.90 per ounce by 0050 GMT. The metal hit $1,233.13, the highest since March 6 in the previous session. U.S. gold future sell 0.2 percent to $1,224.60. Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell 0.28 percent to 837.06 tonnes on Thursday from 839.43 tonnes on Wednesday.
The Federal Reserve on Wednesday raised U.S. interest rates for the second time in three months, as expected, but did not flag any plan to accelerate the pace of monetary tightening as some investors had anticipated. The dollar index was holding near five-week lows hit in the prior session. Dutch centre-right Prime Minister Mark Rutte fought off the challenge of anti-Islam and anti-EU rival Geert Wilders to score an election victory that was hailed across Europe on Thursday by governments facing a rising wave of nationalism.
President Donald Trump’s first budget outline, calling for a security-heavy realignment of federal spending, drew resistance on Thursday from his fellow Republicans in the U.S. Congress as many balked at proposed deep cuts to diplomatic and foreign aid programmes. The Federal Reserve’s return to higher interest rates could lend a hand to beleaguered counterparts in Japan and Europe and signal the end of a long cycle of monetary stimulus across Asia, as central banks from Beijing to Ankara to London reacted on Thursday to the U.S. policy change. U.S. homebuilding jumped in February as unseasonably warm weather boosted the construction of single-family houses to near a 9-1/2-year high, suggesting the economy remained on solid ground despite an apparent slowdown in the first quarter.
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Barrick Gold Corp, the world’s biggest gold producer, is exploring options for its Lagunas Norte mine in Peru, including the sale of part or all of the asset, three people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.