Gold prices were flat on Friday, pressured by an uptick in the US dollar and fears over aggressive rate hikes, although heightened slowdown worries kept safe-haven bullion on track for its first weekly gain in six weeks.
* Spot gold held its ground at $1,717 per ounce, as of 0114 GMT, after rising more than 1% in the previous session. Bullion gained 0.6% so far this week.
* US gold futures were up 0.1% at $1,715.50 per ounce.
* The dollar rose 0.2% against its rivals, making greenback-priced bullion more expensive for buyers holding other currencies.
* The European Central Bank raised interest rates by more than expected on Thursday as concerns about runaway inflation trumped worries about growth.
* Although gold is seen as a hedge against inflation, rising interest rates increase the opportunity cost of holding bullion.
* Investors' focus now shifts to US Federal Reserve policy meeting due next week where policymakers are expected to raise interest rates by 75 basis points.
* The number of Americans enrolling for unemployment benefits rose for a third straight week last week, while factory activity slumped this month, the newest indications the US economy is slowing under the weight of rising interest rates and high inflation.
* Japan's core consumer inflation remained above the central bank's 2% target for a third straight month in June, as the economy faced pressure from high global raw material prices.
* Spot silver was down 0.4% at $18.78 per ounce, platinum gained 0.3% to $874.50, and palladium edged 0.1% lower to $1,891.20.
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