PRECIOUS-Gold rises slightly; U.S. inflation, Fed chair testimony in focus
July 12 (Reuters) - Gold prices inched higher on Monday, on persisting concerns around COVID-19, with investors awaiting U.S. inflation data due this week and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell's testimony.
* Spot gold XAU= rose 0.1% to $1,809.34 per ounce by 0119 GMT.
* U.S. gold futures GCv1 eased 0.1% to $1,809.3.
* The market will keep a close eye on Tuesday's consumer price index data and Powell's appearance before Congress on Wednesday and Thursday to get cues on policy tightening by the central bank.
* Shortages of materials and "difficulties in hiring" are holding back the U.S. economic recovery from the pandemic and have driven a "transitory" bout of inflation, the U.S. Federal Reserve said on Friday.
* The European Central Bank will change its guidance on the next policy steps at its next meeting to reflect its new strategy and show it is serious about reviving inflation, ECB President Christine Lagarde said.
* An upsurge in new coronavirus variants and poor access to vaccines in developing countries threaten the global economic recovery, finance ministers of the world's 20 largest economies warned on Saturday.
* Banks clearing gold trades in London can apply for an exemption from tighter capital rules due in January 2022, a British regulator said on Friday.
* Physical gold demand in India and other major hubs weakened last week as consumers were put off by a rise in the yellow metal's price, while premiums for bullion also retreated.
* Speculators raised their net long positions in COMEX gold and silver in the week ended July 6, data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission showed.
* Silver XAG= rose 0.6% to $26.23 per ounce, palladium XPD= inched 0.1% higher to $2,812.00 and platinum XPT= fell 0.1% to $1,102.50.
(Reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)
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