October 17, 2019 / 4:10 AM / a month ago

PRECIOUS-Gold steady ahead of Brexit talks; weak U.S. data lends support

* Weak U.S. retail sales boost rate-cut bets

* Palladium hits fresh high of $1,783.21/oz (Adds details, updates prices)

By Karthika Suresh Namboothiri

Oct 17 (Reuters) - Gold prices were nearly steady on Thursday as traders refrained from making any big bets in the absence of fresh developments on the Sino-U.S. trade war front and Brexit negotiations, while weak U.S. retail sales data provided support.

Spot gold rose 0.1% to $1,490.81 per ounce as of 0630 GMT. U.S. gold futures inched 0.1% higher to $1,494.90.

“Gold has broken multiple resistance levels in recent times and now we are seeing a correction taking place,” said Silver Bullion sales manager Vincent Tie.

“But weak data across the world has firmed concerns about a slowdown in the global economy and that is providing some support to the safe-haven metal.”

Market participants look for updates on the U.S.-China trade talks. Trade negotiators were working on nailing down a Phase 1 trade deal text for their presidents to sign next month, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Wednesday, but offered little details.

With no top-level meetings in sight anytime soon, investors pondered how much longer the ugly trade spat, that has roiled financial markets around the world, will continue.

Investors are also in a wait-and-watch mode ahead of Brexit talks later in the session, which will determine how Britain will part with the European Union.

Global stocks barely moved as soft U.S. data raised concerns about the health of the U.S. economy and risks of global recession, given consumption has been one of few remaining bright spots in the global economy.

U.S. retail sales dropped for the first time in seven months in September, suggesting that manufacturing-led weakness could be spreading to the broader economy, keeping the door open for the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates again later this month.

OCBC said the October rate-cut fever may resume as global risk sentiments stay muted after disappointing retail sales numbers, which could prove to be a tipping point for the U.S. economy.

Among other precious metals, palladium notched a record high of $1,783.21 an ounce, extending gains into a fourth session.

Palladium is crucial in the making of catalytic converters used in exhaust systems of vehicles, and concerns over its supply running out have helped lift prices by more than 41% this year alone, despite a weakening auto sector.

Meanwhile, silver was flat at $17.38 per ounce, while platinum inched 0.2% higher to $884.79 per ounce. (Reporting by Karthika Suresh Namboothiri and Diptendu Lahiri in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Rashmi Aich)

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