(Adds analyst comment, updates prices)
* U.S. retail sales data expected at 1230 GMT
* Gold holding in $1,404-$1,421/oz range - technicals
* Silver hits three-week high of $15.46/oz
By Karthika Suresh Namboothiri
July 16 (Reuters) - Gold prices held steady on Tuesday as
investors awaited retail sales data from the United States later in
the session for cues on the health of the world's largest economy.
Spot gold inched up 0.1% to $1,414.92 per ounce by 1015 GMT.
U.S. gold futures rose 0.2% to $1,416.60.
"Gold fell over the last three weeks and has been in a
consolidation phase," OANDA senior market analyst Craig Erlam
said, adding U.S. retail sales data would offer an important economic pointer.
"After the U.S. jobs report earlier we've seen a return to
big-news-is-bad-news scenario whereby a strong piece of data, which
could discourage the Fed from cutting interest rates, is having big
implications on the market," he said.
The data is due before major central bank decisions. The European
Central Bank issues a rate decision on July 25, while the U.S. Federal
Reserve is expected to cut rates shortly after that.
"Gold has not broken $1,400 and the fact that it is holding
on to these (levels) suggests there is some substance to the
move," Erlam said.
In the ongoing U.S.-Chinese trade row, U.S. President Donald Trump
said slowing economic growth in the world's second largest economy
showed U.S. tariffs were having "a major effect" and
Washington could add pressure.
Chinese data released on Monday showed growth slowed to 6.2% in
the second quarter, its weakest pace in at least 27 years, raising
expectations that Beijing will roll out more support measures in
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he and U.S. Trade
Representative Robert Lighthizer would hold further trade talks with
their Chinese counterparts by phone this week, part of efforts to end
the spat that has weighed on markets.
Spot gold was holding in a narrow range of $1,404-$1,421, and an
escape could suggest a direction, according to Reuters technical
analyst Wang Tao.
"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.
Among other precious metals, silver rose 0.1% to $15.40 per
ounce, after touching $15.46 in the session, its highest since June 25.
Platinum was up 0.5% at $843.39, while palladium
dipped 0.7% to $1,552.86.
(Reporting by Karthika Suresh Namboothiri in Bengaluru Editing by
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