PRECIOUS-Gold falls to one-month low as dollar strengthens

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MANILA, March 28 Gold dropped to its weakest in a month on Monday, pressured by a firmer dollar following hawkish comments from U.S. Federal Reserve officials that
suggested at least two interest rate hikes this year, with the first potentially coming next month.

FUNDAMENTALS
* Spot gold was down 0.5 percent at $1,210.50 an ounce by 0058 GMT, just off a session-low of $1,209.26. That was the weakest level for cash bullion since Feb. 23.
* U.S. gold for April delivery slipped 0.9 percent to $1,210.90 an ounce.
* St. Louis Fed President James Bullard told reporters on Thursday that he was undecided on whether to push for an interest rate rise at a policy meeting next month in part because the U.S. central bank will have seen little more economic data in the interim.
* But Bullard told the Japanese business daily Nikkei that the Fed may raise interest rates in April or June.
* Russia and Kazakhstan extended their gold buying spree in February by adding to their bullion reserves, while Malaysia and Turkey cut their bullion holdings, data from the International Monetary Fund showed on Friday.
* SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings rose to 26.48 million ounces on Thursday, the highest since December 2013.

MARKET NEWS
* The dollar nudged up against the euro and yen after rebounding last week following the comments from Fed officials.

* Asian stocks edged higher after fairly strong consumer spending led to an upward revision in U.S. economic growth in the fourth quarter, helping to underpin investor sentiment.

    DATA AHEAD (GMT)
    1230  U.S. Trade balance Feb
    1230  U.S. Personal income Feb
    1400  U.S. Pending home sales Feb
    1430  U.S. Dallas Fed manufacturing index Mar

(Reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr.; Editing by Joseph Radford)

Source: reuters.com

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