GLD

PRECIOUS-Gold eyes second weekly gain on gradually easing US inflation

Credit: REUTERS/ALEXANDER MANZYUK

March 1 (Reuters) - Gold prices firmed near month-high levels on Friday and were set for a second weekly rise after data showed that U.S. inflation was gradually easing, while traders turned their focus to remarks from a slew of Federal Reserve officials.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Spot gold XAU= was steady at $2,043.98 per ounce, as of 0150 GMT, after hitting $2050.59 on Thursday - its highest level since Feb. 2. U.S. gold futures GCcv1 edged 0.1% lower to $2,052.40.

* Data on Thursday showed the U.S. personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index rose by 0.3% in January, while the core PCE price index gained 0.4%. In the 12 months through January, inflation rose 2.4% - the smallest in nearly three years.

* U.S. central bankers are looking through recent data showing price pressures rebounded last month, and are focusing instead on overall progress on inflation that they say will likely set the table for interest-rate cuts later this year. FED/

* At least six more Fed officials are due to speak on Friday.

* Traders are betting on about three quarter-point (25 bps) interest rate cuts for 2024 in the U.S., with a 65% chance of the first one coming in June, according to LSEG's interest rate probability app IRPR.

* Lower interest rates boost the appeal of non-yielding bullion.

* The world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Trust's GLD holdings HLDSPDRGT=XAU fell 3.3% in February and 6.4% so far this year. GOL/ETF

* Platinum group metals producer Impala Platinum IMPJ.J could shut some of its loss-making South African mining operations if metal prices deteriorate further and restructuring efforts fail to improve margins, CEO Nico Muller said.

* Spot platinum XPT= climbed 0.5% to $880.45 per ounce, and palladium XPD= rose 0.2% to $943.37, while silver XAG= fell 0.1% to $22.64.

DATA/EVENTS (GMT)

0500 India Mfg PMI Feb

0700 UK Nationwide house price Feb

0900 Euro Zone Mfg PMI Feb

0930 UK Mfg PMI Feb

1330 US Fed's Barkin speaks --

1445 US S&P Mfg PMI Feb

1500 US ISM Mfg PMI Feb

1500 US U Mich Sentiment Final Feb

1500 US Construction Spending Jan

1515 US Fed's Waller, Logan speak --

1715 US Fed's Bostic speaks --

1830 US Fed's Daly speaks --

2030 US Fed's Kugler speaks --

(Reporting by Harshit Verma in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

((Harshit.Verma@thomsonreuters.com;))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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