Gold prices rise after worst week in 2-1/2 months

Gold prices edged up on early Monday, after declining more than 1 percent last week, as the U.S. dollar steadied following recent gains.

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* Spot gold rose 0.1 percent at $1,330.59 an ounce at 0118 GMT. Prices fell 1.4 percent for the week ended Feb. 23, the biggest decline in 2-1/2 months.* U.S. gold futures were up 0.1 percent at $1,332.3 per ounce.

* The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, was flat at 89.881.

* Rising U.S. Treasury yields, a view that the dollar’s selloff had been overdone, and minutes from the Fed’s January rate-setting meeting that offered a relatively upbeat tone helped the dollar index gain 0.9 percent last week.

* Asian markets were in a guardedly upbeat mood, heading into an event-packed week headlined by U.S. inflation data and the first House testimony by the new head of the Federal Reserve.

* The U.S. Federal Reserve, looking past a recent stock market sell-off and concern about inflation, said on Friday that it sees steady growth continuing and no serious risks on the horizon that might pause its planned pace of rate hikes.

* The Bank of England might need to raise British interest rates somewhat sooner than Deputy Governor Dave Ramsden had expected if wage growth picks up early this year, according to a newspaper interview released on Saturday.

* Hedge funds and money managers raised their net long positions in COMEX gold and copper contracts in the week to Feb. 20, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data showed on Friday.

* SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings rose 0.18 percent to 829.26 tonnes on Friday from 827.79 tonnes on Thursday.

* Newcrest Mining Ltd said on Monday it had invested $250 million to buy a 27.1 percent stake in Canadian miner Lundin Gold Inc as the gold major ramps up its exposure to Ecuador to secure growth.

* South Africa’s National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) on Sunday said that Pan African Resources would cut 1,722 jobs at its Evander Gold Mine in the country’s Mpumalanga province.

* High local prices hit physical gold demand in India this week while activity in most other Asian centers remained subdued due to the Lunar New Year holiday.

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