PRECIOUS-Gold up after mixed China data, U.S. equities eyed
* S&P near highest since 2007, saps safe-haven bids * China data shows uneven economic recovery * SPDR gold ETF holdings resumed outflow as of Friday * Coming up: U.S. import, export prices, retail sales Weds (Updates throughout, changes byline, dateline, previously LONDON) By Frank Tang NEW YORK, March 11 (Reuters) - Gold edged up in quiet trade on Monday after a mixed bag of Chinese economic data, but recent rallies in U.S. equities and a better economic outlook dented the metal's safe-haven appeal. Bullion prices were supported by official data released over the weekend that showed China's factory output and consumer spending were weaker than forecast in February, leaving more room for economic stimulus. However, signs of rising inflation could prompt China's policymakers to tighten monetary policy earlier than expected, analysts said. "Despite gold's relatively decent performance last week, the pressure will be back on the complex this week, particularly if U.S. equities resume their advance," said Edward Meir, metals analyst at futures brokerage INTL FCStone. Strong performance on Wall Street prompted some momentum investors to buy stocks at gold's expense. Broad-based U.S. equities benchmark S&P 500 was on track to post a seventh straight daily rise to its highest level since October 2007. Spot gold was up 0.2 percent to $1,580.41 an ounce by 3:15 p.m. EDT (1915 GMT). Last week, the metal posted a slight gain. On Friday, the metal rebounded from to a two-week low around $1,560 an ounce after an encouraging U.S. nonfarm payrolls report. U.S. COMEX gold futures for April delivery settled up $1.10 at $1,578, trading in an $8 range, the narrowest so far in 2013. Trading volume was around 110,000 lots, about half of its 30-day average, preliminary Reuters data showed. It was also on track to be the weakest turnover in two months. Buying interest for gold, a traditional safe haven, was low. The VIX, Wall Street's favorite measure of investor anxiety, fell on Monday to levels not seen since April 2007, extending a decline that suggests markets will stay calm. Silver eased 0.1 percent to $28.93 an ounce. ETF LIQUIDATION CONTINUES Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world's biggest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell 3.311 tonnes to 1,239.739 tonnes as of Friday to the lowest level since October 2011. SPDR Gold Trust has seen more than 111 tonnes of outflows this year, wiping out the total 96.25 tonnes of inflow in 2012 and reflecting investors' interest shifting away from safe havens. Bullion's role in an average investor portfolio will remain peripheral, especially if global growth continues to prompt market participants to chase better returns elsewhere, VTB Capital strategists said in a note. Among platinum group metals, platinum fell 0.1 percent to $1,598.99. Palladium dropped 0.7 percent to $774.97 an ounce, off Friday's peak of $784.50, its highest since September 2011. Investors digested mixed new-car sales data from China, the world's biggest auto market. China favors gasoline-powered engines in its cars which use palladium in their catalytic converters. 3:15 PM EDT LAST/ NET PCT LOW HIGH CURRENT SETTLE CHNG CHNG VOL US Gold APR 1578.00 1.10 0.1 1574.50 1582.50 89,312 US Silver MAY 28.853 -0.095 -0.3 28.705 29.085 21,234 US Plat APR 1601.20 -2.70 -0.2 1594.70 1608.30 6,819 US Pall JUN 779.20 -3.55 -0.5 770.35 784.65 3,754 Gold 1580.41 2.67 0.2 1576.08 1583.00 Silver 28.930 -0.030 -0.1 28.760 29.080 Platinum 1598.99 -1.00 -0.1 1597.50 1604.50 Palladium 774.97 -5.25 -0.7 772.50 782.00 TOTAL MARKET VOLUME 30-D ATM VOLATILITY CURRENT 30D AVG 250D AVG CURRENT CHG US Gold 109,188 201,177 174,963 13.66 -0.10 US Silver 22,798 63,382 52,746 20.92 -1.06 US Platinum 8,016 13,570 10,829 18.03 0.14 US Palladium 3,777 9,106 5,242 (Additional reporting by Clara Denina in London and Rujun Shen in Singapore; editing by Jim Marshall)
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