December 22, 2016 / 1:11 AM / 7 months ago

Gold steady in light trade as investors look to U.S. economic data

3 Min Read

Gold bracelets are on display as a woman (L) makes choices at a jewellery showroom on the occasion of Akshaya Tritiya, a major gold buying festival, in Kolkata April 21, 2015.Rupak De Chowdhuri

BENGALURU (Reuters) - Gold fluttered in a narrow range on Thursday in muted trading ahead of the holidays, with market participants now waiting for a bunch of U.S. economic data due later in the day.

The United States will release a third revision of U.S. third quarter gross domestic product along with durable goods orders for November, and weekly initial jobless claims.

The Federal Reserve, which hiked U.S. interest rates last week, signaled three more increases next year compared with its previous projection of two.

Strong economic data could prompt the Fed to raise rates sooner than later, pressuring gold prices as higher rates lower demand for the non-interest-paying bullion, which is priced in dollars.

Spot gold was steady at $1,131.76 an ounce by 0720 GMT.

U.S. gold futures were little changed at $1,133.50 per ounce.

"The market is in holiday mood already and we have very few trading days before the new year. It is all going to be quiet as the investors will be holding very thin margins," said Ronald Leung, chief dealer at Lee Cheong Gold Dealers in Hong Kong.

The dollar index slipped 0.1 percent to 102.890. It reached 103.65 on Tuesday, the highest since December 2002. [USD/]

"The dollar is very strong and gold is going to be under pressure till Donald Trump takes over the U.S. presidency and the focus will shift to how his polices are unfolding," said Leung.

Holdings of the SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, continued to fall on Wednesday, losing 0.43 percent to hit 824.54 tonnes. Holdings are down over 12 percent since November. [GOL/ETF]

"A lot of ETF buyers got in at unsatisfactory levels. Clearly Trump's win was not expected by the market and the rise in U.S. yields put further pressure on gold," said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA. [US/]

"A break below $1,100 will see another round of big liquidations."

Spot gold looks neutral in a range of $1,121-$1,137 per ounce, and an escape could indicate a direction, according to Wang Tao, Reuters analyst for commodities technicals.

"With Christmas only a few days away we expect business and liquidity to further dry up into today and tomorrow and remain quiet through to the new year," said Alex Thorndike, senior precious metals dealer at MKS PAMP Group.

Silver slipped 0.3 percent to $15.89 an ounce, while platinum was down 0.2 percent at $913.50.

Palladium fell for the seventh straight session, down 0.6 percent at $653.75.

Reporting by Swati Verma and Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri and Biju Dwarakanath

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