March 11, 2019 / 3:46 PM / in 2 months

PRECIOUS-Gold slips on strong U.S. retail data, equities rebound

 (Updates prices)
    * Global stocks rally after worst week of 2019
    * Platinum off near three-week low touched earlier this
session

    By Arijit Bose
    March 11 (Reuters) - Gold fell on Monday, moving further off
the key $1,300-per-ounce mark it briefly surpassed in the
previous session, as global equities rallied following last
week's slide with stronger-than-expected U.S. retail sales
allaying some fears of an economic slowdown.
    Spot gold        was down 0.5 percent at $1,292.21 per ounce
by 2:50 p.m. EDT (1850 GMT), while U.S. gold futures       
settled 0.6 percent lower at $1,291.10. Spot prices hit
$1,300.61 on Friday, but quickly dipped back below the
$1,300-per-ounce threshold.
    "Retail sales were better, which means the economy isn't
necessarily slowing as quickly as some have suggested," said
Bart Melek, head of commodity strategies at TD Securities in
Toronto.
    U.S. retail sales rose 0.2 in January, surprising economists
who expected it to remain unchanged.             
    The data could prompt a less dovish stance from the U.S.
Federal Reserve, Melek added.
    Fed Chairman Jerome Powell on Sunday emphasized he would be
closely monitoring how a slowing global economy affects
conditions in the United States in order to decide the future of
its interest rate trajectory.             
    Higher U.S. interest rates reduce investor interest in
non-yielding bullion.
    Indicating improved appetite for riskier assets, global
stocks left their worst week in the year behind, rallying on
Monday following China's promise of further stimulus measures to
cure their ailing economy.                         
    "For the most part, investors are still most interested in
the equity markets and are not finding a need for any safe-haven
products at this time," Walter Pehowich, executive vice
president of investment services at Dillon Gage Metals, said in
a note.
    Elsewhere, palladium        was up 1.6 percent at $1,538.01
per ounce, while silver        was down 0.1 percent at $15.29.
    Platinum        rose 0.2 percent to $816.25 per ounce, after
earlier touching $803.50 - its lowest since Feb. 19.
    Speculators trimmed their net long positions in COMEX gold
in the week to March 5, as bullion prices fell from 10-month
highs and broke below the key $1,300 per ounce level.
    However, the net longs are up from record low levels touched
in October.        
    
    Gold still has some impetus left, with concerns over the
state of the global economy holding intact, analysts said.
    "As we move into 2019, we should start seeing some weaker
fundamentals in the U.S. as the higher interest rates over the
last year start having a negative impact and as we see the
fiscal stimulus from the Trump tax cuts wear off," TD
Securities' Melek added.
    Investors are now eyeing a key Brexit vote in the British
parliament on Tuesday.

    
 (Reporting by Arijit Bose in Bengaluru, editing by G Crosse and
Marguerita Choy)
  
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