Gold steadies near 15-month peak on softer dollar, fund inflows

Gold nursed small overnight losses on Tuesday, but the metal wasn't too far from a 15-month high on dollar weakness and as assets of the biggest bullion fund rose to their highest in over two years.


* Spot gold XAU= was little changed at $1,291.45 an ounce by 0050 GMT. The metal rose to its highest since January 2015 of $1,303.60 but ended the day lower by 0.2 percent.

* Gold has risen sharply in recent days after the dollar slumped on the Federal Reserve's cautious stance towards higher U.S. rates and as the yen soared after the Bank of Japan stood pat on policy last week.

* Worries over Japanese policymakers' inability to stem the yen's rise had pushed the dollar to an 18-month low early on Monday, supporting gold's rise above $1,300.

* But the dollar later edged up against the yen on Monday, although it declined against other major currencies. [USD/]

* Data on Monday showed U.S. factory activity expanded at a more moderate pace in April. But a rise in export orders to a near 1-1/2-year high and signs that an inventory overhang drag was fading offered hope for the manufacturing sector.

* Investors are closely watching U.S. data to gauge the strength of the economy and its impact on the Fed's monetary policy.

* Also supporting gold was the sharp increase in money flowing into SPDR Gold Trust (GLD), the world's top gold-backed exchange-traded fund.

* Assets of the rose 2.59 percent to 824.94 tonnes on Monday in its biggest increase since Feb 22. Holdings are at their highest since December 2013.

* Among other precious metals, silver XAG= was also near a 15-month high of $18.006 reached on Monday. It edged up 0.3 percent to $17.577 early on Tuesday.

* Platinum XPT= was firm at $1,076 an ounce after climbing to a 10-month high of $1,085.40 on Monday. Palladium XPD= steadied at $617.47.