* Markets price in 25bp cut by the U.S. Fed
* Platinum hovers near a two-month high
* Sliver hits a three-week peak
* Spot gold remains neutral in $1,404-$1,421/oz range - techs
By Brijesh Patel
July 16 (Reuters) - Gold prices held steady on Tuesday as
investors awaited U.S. retail sales data that could serve as an
indicator of the strength of the world's largest economy amid
lingering concerns over global economic slowdown.
Spot gold was flat at $1,413.68 per ounce, as of 0734 GMT.
U.S. gold futures were up 0.2% at $1,415.80 an ounce.
"Today we are sort of getting neutralised because we are
heading into retail sales tonight. Investors are positioning realising
there could be a knee-jerk reaction lower again if retail sales
numbers come out strong," said Stephen Innes, managing partner,
However, "I don't think it (retail sales data) is going to
make a huge difference in overall scheme of things as far as the Fed
narrative goes," Innes added.
The U.S. data, due later in the day, is expected to imply that
retail sales had edged up 0.1% in June, according to the median
estimate of economists polled by Reuters.
Meanwhile, the dollar index was relatively unchanged against a
basket of major currencies as the prospect of an interest rate cut by
U.S. central bank later this month kept the greenback on the
Markets have priced in a 25-basis-point cut by the Fed at its
meeting at the end of this month.
Gold hit $1,438.63 for the first time in six years last month,
supported by expectations of a rate cut by major central banks and
concerns about the global economy.
Ahead of the release of U.S. retail sales figures, signs of an
improving economic situation in the United States on the back of
strong jobs data have led to a steepening of the U.S. yield curve, led
by higher longer-dated yields.
"We are relatively neutral on gold at this stage, since we
are not seeing much movement in other markets that could potentially
impact it, namely, a clear direction for the dollar and U.S. Treasury
yields," INTL FCStone analyst Edward Meir said in a note.
On the trade front, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he
and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer would speak with their
Chinese counterparts by phone again this week as part of the recently
resumed trade talks.
Spot gold remains neutral in a narrow range of $1,404-$1,421 per
ounce, and an escape could suggest a direction, according to Reuters
technical analyst Wang Tao.
Among other precious metals, silver rose 0.3% to $15.44 per
ounce, its highest since June 25, while palladium
fell 0.8% to $1,555.04.
Platinum gained 0.5% to $843.35 an ounce, hovering near a
two-month high of $846.53 hit in the previous session.
(Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard Pullin
and Sherry Jacob-Phillips)
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