RPT-PRECIOUS-Gold steadies as dollar, stocks eyed; ETF falls
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* Gold seen tilting to $900 before physical buying sets in
* Gold has broken below 20-day moving average
* Holdings by SPDR Gold ETF fall 1 pct XAUEXT-NYS-TT (Updates prices)
By Chikako Mogi
TOKYO, July 30 (Reuters) - Gold prices steadied on Thursday, holding above a two-week low hit the previous day, as investors watched the dollar and stocks to gauge risk appetite.
Gold is 3 percent below the six-week high hit on Monday, as U.S. durable goods orders data dampened optimism about an economic recovery and prompted investors to trim risky assets including commodities and to buy the dollar as a safe haven.
Given slack physical demand, the market was more likely to slide towards $900, a level where physical demand has typically picked up this year, than test the upside, traders said.
"The fact that the market couldn't hold onto the $950-$960 levels suggests the market's recent rally was not substantiated, given a lack of physical demand," said Yuichi Ikemizu, Tokyo branch manager at Standard Bank Plc.
"There has been very little sign of such physical buying and the market will likely extend losses until they step in," which has been around $900 when big Asian buyers such as India, China and Vietnam, and even Japan, purchased gold, he said.
Spot gold XAU= was at $930.30 per ounce as of 0547 GMT, up 0.14 percent from New York's notional close of $929.00.
Gold prices fell to around $925 on Wednesday, the lowest since July 15, as rising risk aversion boosted the dollar after U.S. durable goods orders fell more than forecast.
Gold hit a six-week high near $959 per ounce on Monday.
U.S. gold futures for August delivery GCQ9 inched up 0.3 percent to $929.9 per ounce, compared with $927.20 an ounce on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. The COMEX gold range low of $925.20 dated back to July 15 and fell from a lower high at $940.90 an ounce.
Ikemizu said the market looked long overall, with over 100 tonnes of COMEX long positions estimated currently, although the amount may have dropped as the market had fallen in the past few days.
Technically, gold has fallen below the 20-day moving average, effective around $933 an ounce on Thursday.
Reflecting bearish market sentiment, holdings at the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD), fell 10.38 tonnes or about 1 percent to 1,072.87 tonnes as of July 29 from the previous business day.
It was the second day in a row in which holdings had fallen. [GOL/SPDR]
SPDR has shed about 53 tonnes over the past month, the largest drop ever for the fund.
"The rise in SPDR holdings has been a major factor driving the market higher and if the fund is now turning around to be a seller, that would be a major bear factor," Ikemizu said.
The dollar fell against a basket of currencies on Thursday after China's central bank said it would stick to a loose monetary policy to consolidate an economic recovery, easing market worries about the nation's growth. [USD/]
It advanced to a two-week high against the euro the day before when steep losses in Shanghai's stock market and an unexpectedly weak U.S. durable goods report bolstered the greenback's appeal as a safe haven.
Shanghai shares .SSEC fell 5 percent on Wednesday to post their biggest daily decline in eight months on concerns that authorities might take steps to cool the 80 percent gain in Shanghai shares this year.
Japan's Nikkei average edged down 0.1 percent on Thursday, with caution after the Chinese stock tumble offset a surge for Honda Motor Co (7267.T) and Nissan Motor Co (7201.T) on surprise quarterly profits. [USD/]
Precious metals prices at 0545 GMT Metal Last Change Pct chg YTD pct chg Turnover Spot Gold 930.30 1.30 +0.14 5.70 Spot Silver 13.30 0.02 +0.15 17.49 Spot Platinum 1163.50 -6.50 -0.56 24.84 Spot Palladium 254.50 2.00 +0.79 37.94 TOCOM Gold 2852.00 16.00 +0.56 10.84 27509 TOCOM Platinum 3571.00 -21.00 -0.58 34.65 11363 TOCOM Silver 406.10 -0.90 -0.22 27.18 150 TOCOM Palladium 785.00 6.00 +0.77 42.73 147 Euro/Dollar 1.4066 Dollar/Yen 95.06 TOCOM prices in yen per gram, except TOCOM silver which is priced in yen per 10 grams. Spot prices in $ per ounce. (Additional reporting by Miho Yoshikawa)
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