3:13 pm - Monday December 17, 3460

Gold remains below $1,300 on easing Ukraine concerns

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SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Gold was trading below $1,300 an ounce on Thursday, steadying at weaker levels after a fall of more than 1 percent in the previous session, when its safe-haven appeal dimmed on signs of easing tensions in Ukraine.

Spot gold edged up 0.1 percent to $1,290.53 an ounce by 0022 GMT, after losing 1.4 percent on Wednesday. U.S. gold also stabilized after a similar drop overnight.

Russian President Vladimir Putin called on pro-Moscow separatists in Ukraine to postpone a vote on secession just five days before it was to be held, potentially pulling Ukraine back from the brink of violent dismemberment.

In what could be a breakthrough in the worst crisis between East and West since the Cold War, Putin also announced he was pulling Russian troops back from the Ukrainian border.

A slumping housing market and geopolitical tensions risk undermining the U.S. economy and bear close watching by the Federal Reserve, the central bank’s chief said in a testimony to Congress. Fed Chair Janet Yellen said the economy was still in need of lots of support given the “considerable slack” in the labour market.

Kinross Gold Corp reported a sharp drop in first-quarter net earnings due to weaker bullion prices but its production increased and costs edged lower.

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