BENGALURU, Aug 31 (Reuters) – Gold inched lower on Friday, as the dollar stayed firm on expectations of rising interest rates amid lingering Sino-U.S. trade tensions, and the yellow metal was headed for its fifth straight monthly decline. FUNDAMENTALS: * Spot gold was down 0.1 percent at $1,198.66 an ounce at 0029 GMT. Prices were on track for fifth straight monthly decline, the metal’s longest losing streak since early 2013. They are down about 2 percent so far this month. * U.S. gold futures were mostly steady at $1,204 an ounce. * The dollar index against a basket of six major currencies stood little changed at 94.709. The index had nudged up 0.1 percent overnight, posting its first gain in five days. * The dollar was boosted by data that showed U.S. consumer spending increased in July. * Positive data usually makes investors raise bets on a U.S. interest rate hike. * The greenback, which also tends to attract safe haven bids in times of market turmoil and political tensions, drew its latest swell of support as investors braced for the next round of the U.S.-China trade conflict. * U.S. President Donald Trump is prepared to quickly ramp up a trade war with China and has told aides he is ready to impose tariffs on $200 billion more in Chinese imports as soon as a public comment period on the plan ends next week, Bloomberg News reported on Thursday.
* Policy and regulatory certainty in South Africa could potentially add 122 billion rand ($8 billion) in capital expenditure to the struggling mining sector over the next four years, the Minerals Council’s chief executive said on Thursday.
* Operations have resumed at AngloGold Ashanti’s Siguiri gold mine in Guinea after a workers strike halted activities for a day, a company vice president said on Thursday.
* Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell 0.27 percent to 757.81 tonnes on Thursday from Wednesday.