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Gold retains gains on soft U.S. data

Thursday, August 14 08:46:56

Gold held on to small overnight gains on Thursday, as sluggish U.S. retail sales data and geopolitical tensions boosted the metal's safe-haven appeal, although higher stock markets could check any further rise. Asian shares rose despite a raft of soft economic data as investors wagered on more stimulus from major central banks, sending bond yields tumbling across the globe.

Spot gold was steady at $1,312.10 an ounce by 0634 GMT, after gaining 0.3 percent in the previous session. U.S. gold slipped about $1 to $1,313.40. Data on Wednesday showed U.S. retail sales unexpectedly stalled in July, pointing to a loss of momentum in the economy early in the third quarter. This eased some investor fears that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates sooner than expected. Other data showing an economic contraction in Japan and a shock fall in Chinese loans helped to make any tightening in monetary policy by global central banks seem a very distant prospect. Gold has risen about 9 percent this year largely on geopolitical tensions. In recent days, the lack of a sharp escalation in some global conflicts has eased investor fears in the equity markets, threatening to weaken gold prices.

In a reflection of investor sentiment, holdings in SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell 0.26 tonnes to 795.60 tonnes on Wednesday. (Reuters)

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