PRECIOUS-Gold holds firm above $1,400 as markets look past robust U.S. data By Reuters

© Reuters. PRECIOUS-Gold holds firm above $1,400 as markets look past robust U.S. data

* Palladium set to snap five straight weeks of gains

* Dollar down for third session in a row

* GRAPHIC-2019 asset returns: (Adds comments, updates prices)

By Karthika Suresh Namboothiri and Diptendu Lahiri

July 12 (Reuters) – Gold prices inched higher on Friday as investors shrugged off concerns that stronger-than-expected consumer inflation in the United States could influence the U.S. central bank’s decision on aggressive monetary policy easing.

Spot gold rose 0.3% to $1,407.31 per ounce as of 9:16 a..m. EDT (1316 GMT), having touched $1,412.20 earlier in the session. Prices have risen 0.4% so far this week.

U.S. GCcv1 rose 0.2% to $1,409.50 per ounce.

“Inflation data came out a little bit hotter than expected. It seems every day that the probability of rate cut versus keeping rates unchanged is flip-flap. There are uncertainties around that,” said Phillip Streible, senior commodities strategist at RJO Futures.

“If gold closes below $1,400 level on a Friday, (it) could be a blow to the bulls. I see a resistance level of $1,441 if there is enough demand for gold.”

The core U.S. consumer price index, excluding food and energy, rose 0.3% in June, data showed on Thursday, the largest increase since January 2018. The U.S. Federal Reserve had last month downgraded its inflation projection for the year to 1.5% from the 1.8% projected in March.

Bullion rates were quick to slump following the data, shedding nearly 1% in the latter part of its session, with the dollar erasing some losses.

However, the stronger-than-expected reading failed to shake convictions that the Fed will start cutting interest rates at a policy meeting later this month, with money markets still indicating one rate cut at the end of July and a cumulative 64 basis points in cuts by the end of 2019.

Against a basket of currencies, the dollar was lower for a third straight day, down 0.1%.

Market attention will be focused on comments by Chicago Fed President Charles Evans later in the session and New York Fed President John Williams (NYSE:) on Monday, which will provide a chance to gauge how dovish the U.S. central bank will be. FED/DIARY

Fed policymakers are scheduled to meet on July 30-31, where investors will look for further cues on monetary policy easing.

In the physical market, gold buying stalled in top Asian hubs this week as consumers sold back bullion to cash in on the steep price rally. recent import duty hike further dented waning interest in an Indian market hit by a surge in local rates

Other precious metals did not reflect gold’s sheen, with platinum dipping 0.5% to $816.25 per ounce and palladium declining 0.3% to $1,555.86. Silver inched marginally higher to $15.13 an ounce.

Palladium was set for its first weekly decline in six weeks, down 0.7% in the week.

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