Gold prices rose on Friday, on track for their fifth weekly gain, with investors gravitating towards safe-haven assets as political uncertainty in the Middle East overshadowed pressures from the prospect of higher-for-longer U.S. interest rates.


* Spot gold was up 0.4% at $2,388.49 per ounce, as of 0111 GMT. U.S. gold futures edged 0.2% higher to $2,403.30 per ounce. Bullion rose 3% so far this week.

* The U.S. announced new sanctions on Iran, targeting its unmanned aerial vehicle production after its attack on Israel.

* Federal Reserve policymakers have rallied around the idea of holding borrowing costs where they are until probably far into the year, given slow and lumpy progress on inflation and a still-strong U.S. economy.

* The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits was unchanged at low levels last week, pointing to continued labor market strength.

* Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank President Raphael Bostic said that if inflation progress stalls, central bankers would need to consider an interest rate hike.

* Higher interest rates reduce the appeal of holding non-yielding gold.

* Silver may have the power to reach the $30-per-ounce milestone after its 26% surge in March-April on the back of gold's record run and copper's strength, even though analysts say the metal is ripe for a technical correction.

* South Africa's Sibanye Stillwater will close its 4 Belt shaft at Marikana and shed 855 jobs after failing to return it to profitability due to low platinum group metal (PGM) prices.

* Asian markets will hope to end a bruising week on a positive note, but fraying global sentiment and a reluctance to take on much risk ahead of the weekend amid persistent Middle East tensions could limit any upside.

* Spot silver rose 0.7% to $28.41 per ounce, platinum was up 0.6% at $940.70, while palladium fell 0.6% at $1,016.25.

DATA/EVENTS (GMT) 0600 UK Retail Sales MM, YY March 0600 UK Retail Sales Ex-Fuel MM March

(Reporting by Sherin Elizabeth Varghese in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)