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PRECIOUS-Gold prices muted as dollar strength weighs

Nov 17 (Reuters) - Gold prices inched higher on Wednesday but hovered around a recent low, after a jump in U.S. retail sales kept the dollar close to a 16-month high.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Spot gold rose 0.2% to $1,854.39 per ounce by 0207 GMT, but the metal was still only about $6 shy off its lowest level since last Friday hit in the previous session. U.S. gold futures gained 0.2% to $1,857.10.

* U.S. retail sales jumped in October, topping expectations, in an indication that high inflation was not yet dampening spending, even as worries about the rising cost of living sent consumer sentiment tumbling to a 10-year low in early November.

* The report drove the dollar to a fresh 16-month peak, pressuring bullion by raising its cost to buyers holding other currencies.

* Federal Reserve officials said on Tuesday they are vigilant of the ways that higher inflation can affect U.S. households and dampen consumer sentiment and want to get it under control.

* Gold, often viewed as an inflation-hedge, has benefited from easy monetary policy during the pandemic, but any hike in rates should reduce bullion’s appeal as higher interest rates raises the non-interest bearing metal’s opportunity cost.

* Britain’s job market withstood the end of the government’s furlough scheme last month, according to data which could ease lingering concerns at the Bank of England about the risks of raising interest rates from their pandemic low.

* U.S. President Joe Biden pressed his Chinese counterpart on human rights in a video call lasting more than three hours, while Xi Jinping warned that China would respond to provocations on Taiwan, according to official accounts of the exchange.

* Spot silver rose 0.6% to $24.95 per ounce. Platinum rose 0.3% to $1,064.73 and palladium gained 0.3% to $2,165.98.

DATA/EVENTS (GMT, Oct) 0700 UK CPI YY 1330 US Housing Starts Number (Reporting by Nakul Iyer in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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