PRECIOUS-Gold steady as dollar gains on fears of economic slowdown

BENGALURU, Jan 15 (Reuters) - Gold prices were steady on Tuesday, pressured by a firm dollar on the back of concerns over slowing global growth, but well supported by expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve could refrain from raising interest rates this year.


* Spot gold was flat at $1,291.24 per ounce at 0114 GMT.

* U.S. gold futures were little changed at $1,291.3 per ounce.

* Asian shares were on the back foot on Tuesday as surprise falls in China’s exports stoked worries about the global economy, while the U.S. dollar was marginally higher against its peers.

* Chinese data on Monday showed imports fell 7.6 percent year-on-year in December, while analysts had predicted a 5-percent rise. Exports dropped 4.4 percent, confounding expectations for a 3-percent gain, pointing to further weakening in the world’s second-largest economy.

* Also fanning fears was a fall in euro zone industrial output in November, which confirmed a series of weak national data that has raised concerns about the bloc’s growth in the final quarter of the year.

* Market participants think that worries of slowing domestic and global growth as well as tame U.S. inflation will make Fed policymakers hesitant to raise interest rates in the world’s largest economy.

* UK Prime Minister Theresa May urged lawmakers on Monday to take a “second look” at her deal to leave the European Union, a last-ditch effort to win over a parliament that looks set to reject the agreement.

* May warned that failure to approve her Brexit deal could lead to Britain eventually staying in the European Union.

* Meanwhile, investors are still eyeing developments in trade between the United States and China, with U.S. officials expecting a visit by Beijing’s top trade negotiator this month after mid-level discussions between the two countries ended on a seemingly positive note.

* Newmont Mining Corp said on Monday it would buy smaller rival Goldcorp Inc, for $10 billion, creating the world’s biggest gold producer in the face of dwindling easy-to-find reserves of the precious metal.

* South Africa’s Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) is planning to strike at Sibanye-Stillwater’s local platinum operations, it said on Monday, expanding an earlier stoppage affecting its gold facilities.

DATA/EVENTS (GMT) 0745 France CPI Dec 0800 Germany Full Year GDP 2018 1100 Brazil Retail Sales Nov 1330 US NY Fed Manufacturing Jan 1330 US PPI Final Demand Dec 1330 US PPI exFood/Energy Dec (Reporting by Karthika Suresh Namboothiri in Bengaluru; Editing by Joseph Radford)