July 15 (Reuters) - Gold prices held steady in early Asian trade on Monday, as market participants awaited key economic data from China for cues about the health of the world’s second-largest economy.
* Spot gold was flat at $1,415.34 per ounce as of 0100 GMT.
* U.S. gold futures were up 0.3% at $1,416.50 an ounce.
* Markets will be focussed on Chinese gross domestic product data due at 0200 GMT, where analysts expect second-quarter growth to have slowed to 6.2% from a year earlier - the weakest annual pace since early 1992.
* A disappointing number would add to worries about slowing global growth and reinforce the case for more stimulus by Chinese authorities as a damaging trade war with the United States rages on.
* Alongside GDP, China will also publish activity data for June including retail sales, industrial production and urban investment, which could give more clues on whether earlier support measures are starting to kick in, or if more policy easing is needed.
* Meanwhile, the dollar index was relatively unchanged against a basket of major currencies.
* The dollar index fell for three days in a row on prospects of an interest rate cut by the U.S. Federal Reserve later this month.
* Hedge funds and money managers cut their bullish stance in COMEX gold in the week to July 9, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) said in a report on Friday.
* Physical gold buying stalled in top Asian hubs last week as consumers sold back bullion to cash in on a steep price rally, while a recent import duty hike further dented waning interest in an Indian market hit by a surge in local rates.
* Belo Sun Mining Corp said on Friday it had won a legal victory in its push to mine the country’s largest undeveloped gold deposit in the Amazon rainforest, which has drawn criticism from environmentalists and indigenous advocates.
DATA AHEAD (GMT)
* 0200 China Urban Investment YTD June
* 0200 China Industrial Output YY June
* 0200 China Retail Sales YY June
* 0200 China GDP YY Q2
Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu
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