Gold prices firmed on Monday, as some Western nations’ plans to ban imports of the metal from Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, signalled potentially tighter supplies of bullion.
* Spot gold was up 0.2% at $1,828.99 per ounce by 0102 GMT. U.S. gold futures were flat at $1,830.90.
* Four of the Group of Seven (G7) rich nations moved to ban imports of Russian gold on Sunday to tighten the sanctions squeeze on Moscow and cut off its means of financing the invasion of Ukraine.
* But it was not clear whether there was G7 consensus on the plan, with European Council President Charles Michel saying the issue would need to be handled carefully and discussed further.
* Elsewhere, a pair of U.S. central bankers said on Friday they supported further sharp interest rate hikes to stem rapid price rises, even as investors cheered economic data showing inflation expectations to be less worrisome than initially feared.
* Gold is seen as a hedge against inflation, but higher interest rates raise the opportunity cost of holding bullion, which yields no interest.
* The International Monetary Fund slashed its U.S. economic growth forecast on Friday, as aggressive Federal Reserve interest rate hikes cool demand but predicted that the United States would “narrowly” avoid a recession.
* Gold prices fell last week as looming interest rate hikes weighed, despite seeing some gains on Friday as the dollar retreated and recession fears buoyed its safe-haven appeal.
* SPDR Gold Trust , the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings fell 0.2% to 1,061.04 tonnes on Friday from 1,063.07 tonnes a day earlier.
* Spot silver rose 0.2% to $21.15 per ounce, platinum gained 0.2% to $908.99, and palladium was up 0.2% to $1,880.69.
1230 US Durable Goods May