Asian shares eased amid fears of rising U.S. protectionism as President Donald Trump fired his Secretary of State, regarded as a moderate in his administration, and eyes hefty tariffs on Chinese imports.
Gold prices were largely steady on Wednesday on a weaker dollar following U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's sudden dismissal and after consumer price data pointed towards a path of gradual hikes in U.S. interest rates.
* Spot gold fell 0.1 percent to $1,325.19 per ounce at 0124 GMT.
* U.S. gold futures for April delivery fell 0.1 percent to $1,325.60 per ounce.
* Asian shares eased amid fears of rising U.S. protectionism as President Donald Trump fired his Secretary of State, regarded as a moderate in his administration, and eyes hefty tariffs on Chinese imports.
* The dollar wallowed against the yen and other major currencies on Wednesday.
* Trump fired Tillerson on Tuesday after a series of public rifts over policy on North Korea, Russia and Iran, replacing his chief diplomat with loyalist CIA Director Mike Pompeo.
* U.S. consumer prices cooled in February amid a decline in gasoline prices and a moderation in the cost of rental accommodation, the latest indication that an anticipated pickup in inflation probably will be only gradual.
* Trump is seeking to impose tariffs on up to $60 billion of Chinese imports and will target the technology and telecommunications sectors, two people who had discussed the issue with the Trump administration said on Tuesday.
* Trump's import tariffs will do more harm than good to the U.S. economy, say the vast majority of economists polled by Reuters, who also expect the Fed to raise interest rates this year more than previously thought.
* A global regulatory crackdown on cryptocurrencies created by startups to finance new projects could slow the pace of virtual currency sales as questions mount about their transparency and the risk of scams for investors.* Investors have moved to pricing in a March 2019 rate rise by the European Central Bank, whose dovish, go-slow message has persuaded markets to wipe out bets on an earlier move.