* SPDR Gold holdings down over 3 pct so far in February
* U.S. dollar at two-months high
* Gold likely to be in $1,300-$1,325/oz range -analyst
(Adds comment, updates prices)
By K. Sathya Narayanan
Feb 14 (Reuters) - Gold was little changed on Thursday as
investors awaited clarity on trade talks between Washington and
Beijing and the risk of another U.S. government shutdown, with a
strong dollar and stock markets pinning prices near $1,300 an ounce.
Spot gold was steady at $1,305.71 per ounce as of 1230 GMT.
U.S. gold futures were down 0.5 percent at $1,309.10.
"The market has been relatively quiet. The dollar is very
firm, particularly against Japanese yen and Swiss francs, and because
of that the market is a little bit on the softer side," said
Afshin Nabavi, senior vice president at MKS SA.
The dollar index rose to a two-month high, making bullion
costlier for investors holding other currencies.
Also denting gold's appeal were higher stocks, with European
shares climbing to a three-month high on optimism about U.S.-China
Investors were hoping for a breakthrough in the trade impasse
between the world's two largest economies. U.S. President Donald Trump
said on Wednesday the talks were "going along very well".
Meanwhile, the U.S. Congress aimed to end a dispute over border
security with legislation that would ignore Trump's request for $5.7
billion to help build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, but avoid a
partial government shutdown.
The bill will be cleared for signing into law if it passes the
Senate and House of Representatives. If this does not happen, about a
quarter of federal government agencies would be forced into partial
shutdown for lack of operating funds.
"We are not going to have a huge movement in gold until we
find what is going on with the potential shutdown in the U.S. and also
the meeting with China," Nabavi said.
Gold prices touched a more than one-week high of $1,318.12 on
Wednesday, but pared gains later in the session as the greenback
benefited from sustained strength in core U.S. inflation.
Gold is range-bound between $1,300 and $1,325 and weakness in the
U.S. dollar and clarity on Sino-U.S. trade talks would drive it above
$1,325 and potentially towards $1,350, said ABN AMRO analyst Georgette Boele.
With gold unable to break higher, outflows rose from the world's
largest gold-backed ETF, SPDR Gold Trust . Holdings have fallen over
3 percent so far this month.
Elsewhere, palladium rose 0.4 percent to $1,401 per ounce.
Platinum was down 0.2 percent at $782 per ounce, while silver
was flat at $15.56.
(Reporting by K. Sathya Narayanan in Bengaluru Editing by Jan
((Sathya.Narayanan@thomsonreuters.com; within U.S. +1 651 848 5832,
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