Gold steady as lower bond yields negate pressure from firm dollar

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Gold prices steadied on Friday after hitting a more than one-week low in the previous session, as a retreat in U.S. bond yields and weak economic data countered a stronger dollar.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Spot gold was flat at $1,806.08 per ounce, as of 0047 GMT, after hitting its lowest since July 12 at $1,791.16 on Thursday.

* Bullion is down 0.2% so far this week, after posting gains for the previous four weeks.

* U.S. gold futures edged 0.1% higher to $1,807.70 per ounce.

* Yields on U.S. Treasuries eased on Thursday after an auction of $16 billion in 10-year TIPS was bid at a record low.

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* However, the dollar index held close to a 3-1/2-month peak against its rival, making gold more expensive for holders of other currencies.

* The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose to a two-month high last week, a reminder that the labor market was far from being out of the woods as the nation confronts a resurgence in new COVID-19 infections.

* Big tech helped Wall Street inch up to a higher close on Thursday, modestly building on a two-day rally as lackluster economic data and mixed corporate earnings prompted a pivot back to growth stocks.

* The European Central Bank pledged to keep interest rates at record lows for even longer to boost sluggish inflation and warned that the rapidly spreading Delta variant of the coronavirus poses a risk to the euro zone’s recovery.

* Lower interest rates decrease the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion.

* Silver eased 0.1% to $25.42 per ounce, palladium rose 0.3% to $2,725.77, and platinum was flat at $1,092.44.

DATA/EVENTS (GMT) 0600 UK Retail Sales MM, YY June 0600 UK Retail Sales Ex-Fuel MM June 0800 EU Markit Mfg, Serv, Comp Flash PMIs July 0830 UK Flash Com, Mfg, Serv PMIs July 1330 US Markit Mfg, Serv, Comp Flash PMIs July (Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)