Gold steady as US Fed leaves interest rates unchanged

Gold held steady early on Thursday, clinging to gains from the previous session when it rose 1.5 percent to a 2-week high on a weaker dollar after the US Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged.


* Spot gold was little changed at $1,338.87 an ounce at 0112 GMT. Bullion on Wednesday touched a high of $1,342.18, its best since July 14.

* US gold rose 0.9 percent to $1,338.7 an ounce.

* The Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged on Wednesday but said near-term risks to the US economic outlook had diminished.

* Gold is sensitive to rising US rates, which would lift the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion, while boosting the dollar, in which it is priced.

* The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, fell 0.4 percent to 96.589. Earlier this week, it had risen as high as 97.569, its highest level since March.

* Japan's prime minister unveiled a surprisingly large $265 billion stimulus package on Wednesday to reflate the world's third-largest economy, adding pressure on the central bank to match the measures with monetary stimulus later this week.

* China's annual gold consumption is expected to be 1,200 tonnes by 2020, state-owned Shanghai Securities News reported on Wednesday, citing an estimate from a Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) official.

* Barrick Gold Corp, the world's largest gold producer, reported a rise in second-quarter profit on Wednesday and said it plans to sell its 50 percent stake in a western Australia mine to cut debt.

* Palladium has soared 17 percent so far in July, its best monthly performance in almost 8-1/2 years, as it catches up on gains made by other precious metals in the wake of the Brexit vote and benefits from greater demand for cyclical assets.

* Randgold Resources' Loulo-Gounkoto gold mining complex in Mali is currently on track to beat its 2016 production guidance, CEO Mark Bristow told reporters late on Wednesday.