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Gold futures hold steady with Greece talks in focus

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Shutterstock photo - - Gold prices held steady on Friday, as negociations over Greece's bailout were set to continue and as markets eyed the release of U.S. manufacturing data due later in the day.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for April delivery were steady at $1,207.50.

The April contract ended Thursday\'s session 0.62% higher at $1,207.60 an ounce.

Futures were likely to find support at $1,197.20, the low from February 18 and resistance at $1,222.90, Thursday\'s high.

Demand for the safe-haven precious metal strengthened after Germany rejected a proposed bailout extension request from Greece on Thursday.

The Greek request included a pledge to maintain "fiscal balance" for a six-month period, in order to give it time to reach a new agreement on growth over the next four years with its partners in the euro zone, Reuters reported.

But German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said it was "not a substantial proposal for a solution" and did not meet the criteria agreed on at the euro group meeting of euro zone finance ministers on Monday.

The European Commission had earlier welcomed the bailout extension request, saying it could pave the way for compromise and stability in the euro zone.

Another round of negotiations was planned at a meeting of eurozone finance ministers on Friday.

Gold prices also remained supported as traders reassessed their expectations for the timing of the first U.S. rate hike following the release of dovish Fed minutes on Wednesday.

According to the minutes, "many" policymakers were in favor of holding interest rates at current levels for longer and that raising rates too soon could weigh on the economic recovery.

A delay in raising interest rates would be seen as bullish for gold, as it decreases the relative cost of holding on to the metal, which doesn't offer investors any similar guaranteed payout.

Market participants were eyeing preliminary U.S. data on manufacturing activity due to be released later in the day, for further indications on the strength of the nation's economy.

Elsewhere in metals trading, silver for March delivery rose 0.24% to $16.420 a troy ounce, while copper futures for March delivery slipped 0.25% to $2.609 a pound. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.

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