Gold price near 2-1/2 week high; poised for best week in a month

Gold price near 2-1/2 week high; poised for best week in a month Singapore: Gold was trading near its highest in 2-1/2 weeks on Friday, and looked set to log its best week in a month on weaker equities and increasing hopes that the U.S. Federal Reserve will hold off on tighter interest rates.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Spot gold eased 0.08 percent to USD 1,317.35 an ounce by 0025 GMT, after three straight days of gains. The precious metal is up 1.2 percent for the week.

* It hit a high of USD 1,324.40 on Thursday - its highest since March 24.

* Gold investors were reassured by Wednesday`s release of the Fed`s March meeting minutes that showed policymakers were not keen on rising interest rates straight after the wind-down of bond purchases, as the markets had feared.

* Gold`s safe-haven appeal was also boosted by the biggest one-day drop on Nasdaq since August 2011 on Thursday.

* SPDR Gold Trust, the world`s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings fell 0.26 tonnes to 806.22 tonnes on Thursday.

* Goldcorp Inc raised its hostile takeover offer for Osisko Mining Corp , squeaking above a white knight bid by Yamana Gold Inc and heightening a bidding war that has helped inject life into a depressed gold mining sector.