PRECIOUS-Gold prices sink to 19-month low amid strong dollar

BENGALURU, Aug 16 (Reuters) - Gold prices shed over one percent on Thursday to hit their lowest in more than 19 months, with the U.S. dollar holding steady near a recent peak as concerns about a Turkey crisis and China’s economic health weighed on emerging market currencies.


* Spot gold was down 0.8 percent at $1,164.71 an ounce, as of 0055 GMT. Earlier in the session, the bullion fell as much as 1.2 percent to $1,159.96, its lowest since January 2017.

* U.S. gold futures were down 1.1 percent at $1,172.7 an ounce.

* The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, was up about 0.1 percent at 96.756, after climbing to a more-than-13-month high at 96.984 in the previous session.

* The United States on Wednesday ruled out removing steel tariffs that have contributed to a currency crisis in Turkey even if Ankara frees a U.S. pastor, as Qatar pledged $15 billion in investment to Turkey, supporting a rise in the Turkish lira.

* The United States on Wednesday imposed sanctions on a Russian port service agency and Chinese firms for aiding North Korean ships and selling alcohol and tobacco to Pyongyang in breach of U.S. sanctions aimed at pressuring North Korea to end its nuclear programs.

* Some emerging market countries pared their holdings of U.S. Treasuries in June, data from the U.S. Treasury department showed on Wednesday, in what analysts viewed as a move to support their currencies as the Federal Reserve started raising interest rates this year.

* U.S. retail sales rose more than expected in July as households boosted purchases of motor vehicles and clothing, suggesting the economy remained strong early in the third quarter.

* Britain’s inflation rate rose in July for the first time in 2018, keeping the squeeze on many households’ budgets, but there were signs that the pick-up was a blip and inflation might fall faster than the Bank of England thinks.

* China’s state planner pledged on Wednesday to keep debt levels under control even as Beijing rolls out fresh stimulus to support the stumbling economy as a trade war with the U.S. deepens.

* The Perth Mint, Australia’s largest precious metals refinery, depository and mint, on Wednesday announced a new gold-backed exchange-traded fund (ETF) with a low-price management fee, entering the field of lower-cost competitors on the New York Stock Exchange. DATA AHEAD (GMT)

0600 Germany Wholesale price index July

0830 UK Retail sales July

0900 Euro zone Eurostat trade June

1230 U.S. Housing starts July

1230 U.S. Building permits July

1230 U.S. Weekly jobless claims

1230 U.S. Philly Fed business index Aug

Reporting by Apeksha Nair in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips