November 26, 2014 / 11:03 AM / 3 years ago

PRECIOUS-Gold rangebound below $1,200/oz as Asia buying evaporates

* Dollar index surrenders early gains after U.S. data

* Asian demand underpins prices but sparks little momentum

* Expectations for tighter U.S. monetary policy cap gains (Updates prices)

By Josephine Mason and Jan Harvey

NEW YORK/LONDON, Nov 26 (Reuters) - Gold eased slightly on Wednesday then steadied at just under $1,200 an ounce for another rangebound session as Asian overnight buying evaporated amid low volumes ahead of the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday and a key Swiss vote on bullion holdings.

The U.S. dollar retreated after data suggested U.S. economic growth might be slowing in the final quarter of 2014. Oil was pulled lower after OPEC increased signals that it would hold off making any major production cuts this week.

Recent strong U.S. data has fuelled talk that the Federal Reserve could soon raise interest rates, depressing gold.

Reports released on Wednesday, however, showed domestic personal spending grew slightly less than forecast in October, while U.S. jobless claims rose to their highest since September and new orders for U.S.-made capital goods fell for a second month in October.

At 3:25 p.m. EDT (2025 GMT), spot gold was at $1,198.40 an ounce, down 0.25 percent from Tuesday, while U.S. gold futures for December delivery settled at $1,196.6 an ounce, down 0.04 percent.

Spot prices had slipped as low as $1,194.71 before the economic data. Trading has been subdued since prices recovered from 4-1/2-year lows earlier this month.

“You have to wonder for how much longer U.S. data can have such a big hold on gold,” Macquarie analyst Matthew Turner said.

“We have had a lot of ups and downs in U.S. data this year, but the Fed hasn’t actually changed its policy. You’d think at some point these data points would have to get a lot more shocking to have a major impact.”

China’s net gold imports from main conduit Hong Kong hit a seven-month high in October, according to official Hong Kong data released on Tuesday.

Speculation that Switzerland could vote in favour of a motion to raise its gold reserves has underpinned prices.

The vote is aimed at preventing the Swiss National Bank from offloading its gold holdings and obliging it to hold at least 20 percent of its assets in gold, compared with 8 percent last month.

Silver was down 0.6 percent at $16.62 an ounce, while platinum was up 0.58 percent at $1,233.5 an ounce and palladium was up 1.4 percent at $808.02 an ounce. (Additional reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi in Singapore; editing by William Hardy, David Evans and Cynthia Osterman)

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