Gold price steadies as US data curbs rate rise speculation

New York (Sept 16)  Gold steadied above two-weeklows on Friday after downbeat U.S. data curbed already muted expectations for a U.S. rate rise next week but uncertainty over

 monetary policy kept the metal on track for its first weekly loss in three.

The CME Group's FedWatch tool showed futures traders are now pricing in a 12 percent chance of a rate rise this month, down from 15 percent on Wednesday, after soft U.S. retail sales and manufacturing output data.

That kept a lid on the dollar, which was little changed on the week on Friday, and underpinned gold after its 1 percent slide this week.

Spot gold was at $1,314.33 an ounce at 0930 GMT, little changed from $1,313.80 late on Thursday, a session when it hit its lowest since Sept. 2 at $1,309.25. U.S. gold futures for December delivery were down 10 cents at $1,317.90.

"Gold didn't get much of a bounce yesterday from the retail sales data, which is somewhat surprising," Mitsubishi analyst Jonathan Butler said. "But if we look at what's happening elsewhere, oil's been down this week, equities are holding onto the some of their gains, and those things present something of a headwind to gold."

"Things are largely on hold ahead of the Fed and Bank of Japan meetings next week," he said.

 The U.S. and Japanese central banks are both holding monetary policy meetings on Sept. 20-21.

Gold is highly sensitive to rising U.S. interest rates, which increase the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion, while boosting the dollar, in which it is priced.

While expectations for a September rate rise have faded, a new Reuters poll of 100 economists showed a median 70 percent

 chance of an increase in December.

That could weigh still on gold, which has rallied 24 percent this year on expectations that the Federal Reserve would hold off on further interest rate rises.

Investment appetite for the precious metal was soft, with holdings of the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Shares, falling 3.3 tonnes on Thursday.

Demand for gold in India remained lacklustre this week as higher prices hampered consumer purchases, though discounts narrowed due to a correction in the spot rate.

 Silver was also little changed at $18.93 an ounce.

Platinum was 0.7 percent lower at $1,024.25 after falling to two-month lows the day before. The white metal used in jewellery and autocatalysts is set for a seventh straight weekly loss for the first time since 2013.

Palladium was down 0.3 percent at $652.50 an ounce.

Source: Reuters