PRECIOUS-Gold up after mixed China data, U.S. equities eyed

Mon Mar 11, 2013 4:17pm EDT

* 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)