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Safe-haven Status Cancels out Dollar Strength, Gold Flat

Gold prices were flat in light trading on Friday with Chinese markets closed for the Lunar New Year break, while a firm dollar offset safe-haven demand fueled by Middle East concerns.

Spot gold registered at $2,032.76 per ounce, as of 0404 GMT. Bullion has declined 0.3% so far in the week.

U.S. gold futures were flat at $2,047.70 per ounce.

Focus will shift next week to a U.S. consumer price index report after Federal Reserve officials said they would hold off on cutting interest rates until they had more confidence that inflation was headed down to 2%.

Traders have pared bets for a May interest rate cut in the U.S.

Spot palladium prices fell below those of sister metal platinum for the first time since April 2018 on Thursday. However, palladium has since taken a lead again, up 0.6% to $892.26 U.S. per ounce, while platinum rose to $890.09 U.S.

Both metals have been under pressure as consumers drew down inventories.

However, palladium will be harder hit on rising electric vehicle sales, due to its limited uses elsewhere, according to experts.

Both metals are used in making a key component in internal combustion engines, but platinum is also used in jewelry and other industries.

Spot silver rose 0.2% to $22.63 U.S.