* Stocks rise, dollar retreats after China, euro zone data
* Focus still on U.S. fiscal cliff; Wall St closed for
* Indian gold demand beat expectations this year, dealers
By David Brough
LONDON, Nov 22 Gold prices edged up on Thursday
as well-received Chinese manufacturing data and hopes that a
bailout deal for Greece may eventually be agreed boosted stocks
and lifted the euro to three-week highs versus the dollar.
Prices held in a tight range, however, with trading activity
expected to be light because of the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday,
which has closed Wall Street.
Spot gold edged up 0.09 percent to $1,730 an ounce at
1:55 p.m. EST (1855 GMT), while U.S. gold was up 0.08
percent at $1,729.50. Less than 30,000 lots had changed hands on
COMEX, about one-fifth as much as usual.
The euro broke higher and world stocks extended a week-long
rally as manufacturing surveys in China and the United States
boosted confidence in the growth outlook, while euro zone data
was not as weak as some had feared.
A report showed China's manufacturing Purchasing Managers
Index rose to a 13-month high of 50.4 in November, while euro
zone data showed manufacturing activity slowed less than
expected in November.
Daniel Briesemann, commodities analyst at Commerzbank in
Frankfurt, said gold's appeal as a safe haven investment had
prevented it from rising more in line with shares as the dollar
weakened against a basket of currencies.
"Gold's safe haven status is putting a brake on gold price
risks," he said.
Saxo Bank Vice President Ole Hansen said the better than
expected data from China could augur well for demand from the
country, which has vied with India as the world's biggest gold
consumer this year, but whose gold buying has proved fragile in
the face of slowing growth.
"If there is a belief that China has turned the corner,
there could be more physical demand," he said.
Gold's 11 percent rise this year has come largely on the
back of U.S. monetary easing measures to boost its economy. It
has been hovering around $1,730 this week as investors focus on
whether the United States will avoid a fiscal crisis.
"The gold market is likely to trade sideways unless you get
clear news from the U.S. on the fiscal cliff," said Nic Brown,
analyst at Natixis, referring to the $600 billion in tax hikes
and spending cuts that are due to roll in early next year,
threatening to spur a recession.
"If there is a good resolution on the fiscal cliff,
potentially the gold price could go down," he added. "The real
movement would be money going back to other risky assets. Our
central scenario is for a resolution of the fiscal cliff issue."
Brown said: "What would support gold would be the U.S.
drifting in to a fiscal crisis similar to Europe."
U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Wednesday
repeated a warning that failing to avert a move towards the
cliff could lead to recession, and said worries over how budget
negotiations will be resolved were already damaging growth.
Investors said resilient Indian and Chinese gold demand
Ross Norman, chief executive of precious metals trader
Sharps Pixley, said Indian physical demand for gold had been
better than expected this year, despite an increased gold import
duty and a weak monsoon. A poor monsoon can erode farmers'
earnings and gold purchases.
"There are some fresh longs coming into the market on the
basis of physical demand in gold," he said.
Silver dipped 0.15 percent to $33.28 an ounce after
earlier touching its highest level in more than a month. Silver
has risen more than 20 percent this year, leading precious
Silver's ratio to gold, which measures the number of silver
ounces needed to buy an ounce of gold, held near the six-week
low it hit on Wednesday at 51.86 after silver outperformed.
"The ratio should head towards the less steep rising channel
support at 50.90/60, or even all the way back to the low of last
February at 48.50," Societe Generale said in a note.
Silver usually tracks moves in gold, but can also be
influenced by riskier assets due to its industrial nature.
Holdings of the largest silver-backed exchange-traded fund,
New York's iShares Silver Trust, dipped 0.15 percent on Tuesday.
ETFs issue securities backed by physical stocks of a
precious metal, and have proved a popular way to invest in gold
and silver in recent years.
Platinum edged up 0.4 percent to $1,579.60, while
palladium was last at $653.60, up 1.9 percent.