Off The Wire
Gold Prices Steady; Central Bank Meetings, U.S. Data Loom
BENGALURU, July 30 (Reuters) - Gold prices were little changed in early trade on Monday, with major currencies including the dollar in a holding pattern ahead of key central bank meetings and U.S. data this week.
* Spot gold was nearly unchanged at $1,222.68 an ounce at 0107 GMT.
* U.S. gold futures were about 0.1 percent lower at $1,222 an ounce.
* The dollar trod water against its peers on Monday, as market participants awaited key central bank meetings this week, which could set the near-term course for currencies.
* Central banks in focus include the Bank of Japan, which ends a two-day meeting on Tuesday, and the Federal Reserve, which concludes its policy meeting on Wednesday. The Bank of England also makes a policy decision on Thursday.
* Asian share markets drifted lower on Monday while currencies kept to familiar ranges ahead of a busy week peppered with central bank meetings, corporate results and updates on U.S. inflation and payrolls.
* U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday he would allow the federal government to shut down if Democrats do not fund his border wall and back immigration law changes, betting that maintaining a hard line will work in Republicans' favor in November congressional elections.
* The U.S. economy grew at its fastest pace in nearly four years in the second quarter as consumers boosted spending and farmers rushed shipments of soybeans to China to beat retaliatory trade tariffs before they took effect in early July.
* Euro zone inflation could accelerate faster than earlier thought, the European Central Bank's Survey of Professional Forecasters showed on Friday, underpinning the bank's decision to slowly remove stimulus.
* Japan's retail sales climbed more than expected in June due to increased spending on fuel, appliances and cosmetics, in a positive sign that households are growing more confident in the economy.
* Hedge funds and money managers increased their net short position in COMEX gold contracts to a record in the week to July 24, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) data showed on Friday.
* Gold demand in India improved last week as local prices traded near a six-month low, prompting jewellers to replenish inventory, while weaker rates in Singapore saw demand pick up further there.
(Reporting by Apeksha Nair in Bengaluru; editing by Richard Pullin)