July 16, 2020 / 10:11 AM / 23 days ago

PRECIOUS-Gold dips on firm dollar, stays above $1,800 on virus fears

* ECB keeps policy on hold

* China economy grew 3.2% in Q2, but June retail sales fell

* Gold tied in $1,800-$1,815/oz trading range - analyst

* GRAPHIC-2020 asset returns: tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl

* Interactive graphic tracking global spread of coronavirus: open tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7 in an external browser (Updates prices)

By Eileen Soreng

July 16 (Reuters) - Gold edged lower on Thursday as the dollar firmed, but worries over mounting coronavirus cases and worsening U.S.-China ties limited declines and kept it above the key $1,800 level.

Spot gold fell 0.4% $1,804.24 per ounce by 1208 GMT. It hit $1,817.71, its highest since September 2011, last week.

U.S. gold futures fell 0.3% to $1,807.50.

“The dollar index’s reclaiming of the 96 ...(currency basket) level is taking some of the shine off gold for the time being,” said FXTM market analyst Han Tan.

“...Overall, the current market outlook remains conducive for bullion bulls, considering the lingering concerns over the global economy’s ability to move past the pandemic.”

Making gold expensive for holders of other currencies, the dollar rose 0.1% against its rivals, benefiting from some safe-haven inflows following weak Chinese retail sales data for June.

“Gold is tied in a trading range of $1,800 and $1,815,” said ActivTrades chief analyst Carlo Alberto De Casa, adding that further lockdowns would be positive for gold.

European shares fell after deteriorating U.S.-China relations and worse-than-expected Chinese domestic consumption data weighed on global risk appetite.

Washington plans to impose visa restrictions on Chinese firms and take possible action to address perceived security risks posed by Chinese apps TikTok and WeChat.

Meanwhile, the European Central Bank kept policy unchanged as expected taking a pause after a string of extraordinary moves to help the euro zone stay afloat during a pandemic-induced recession.

Safe-haven gold has risen over 19% this year, also benefiting from low interest rates and widespread stimulus as it is seen as a hedge against inflation and currency debasement, although market participants are still divided on the outlook for inflation.

Palladium dropped 0.7% to $1,968.34 per ounce, platinum lost 0.9% to $824.27 and silver slipped 0.9% to $19.21. (Reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru; Editing by Barbara Lewis and John Stonestreet)

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