May 17, 2019 / 10:43 AM / 7 days ago

PRECIOUS-Gold struggles for direction as dollar firms, equities dip

* Spot gold may fall towards $1,264 - analyst

* Silver hits 5-month low

* Palladium down 19% from record peak in March

* Platinum set to mark worst week in 10 (Updates prices)

By Brijesh Patel

May 17 (Reuters) - Gold price were mostly unchanged on Friday after a steep fall in the previous session, with gains curbed by a firmer dollar and a pullback in global equities on U.S.-China trade tensions offering support.

Spot gold was steady at $1,285.67 per ounce as of 1158 GMT.

U.S. gold futures were little changed at $1,285.80 an ounce.

Spot gold fell 0.8% on Thursday, its biggest one-day percentage decline since April, as investors became a little more receptive to taking on risk following strong economic data from the United States.

“On one end, gold has support from prevailing uncertainties in the financial markets relating to the trade talks and concerns over growth outlook. At the same time, the dollar is expected to stay strong for at least the next two weeks,” said Julius Baer analyst Carsten Menke.

“Gold is expected to be rangebound.”

The dollar index rose, holding near a two-week high against a basket of currencies, making gold more expensive for holders of other currencies.

Meanwhile, world stocks pulled back after tough words on trade from China.

The Communist Party’s People’s Daily used a front page commentary to evoke the patriotic spirit of past wars, saying the trade war would never bring China down.

A U.S. move to block China’s Huawei Technologies from buying vital American technology further ratcheted up tensions over trade.

Meanwhile, Thursday’s sharp fall has dented the technical picture for the metal.

“Bullion prices had broken the bearish trendline that had marked the last few months,” Carlo Alberto De Casa, chief analyst with ActivTrades, wrote in a note.

“A clear recovery to the $1,300 level, and prices holding above this psychological threshold, would confirm the supportive scenario seen in the last two weeks, while a fall below $1,280 would be seen as a negative element.”

Spot gold may break a support at $1,283 per ounce, and fall towards the next support at $1,264, according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.

Among other metals, silver was down 0.5% at $14.49 an ounce, after hitting its lowest since Dec. 7 at $14.42 an ounce. Silver is also on track for a decline of about 2% for the week.

Platinum dipped 0.7% to $823.95 per ounce, having hit a two-month low at $818.50 earlier in the session.

Palladium slipped 0.7% to $1,320.91 an ounce. It has slumped about 19% since the metal used in catalytic converters in car exhaust systems hit a record high of $1,620.53 in March.

Both platinum and palladium are set to record weekly falls, with platinum on course for its biggest such drop in 10 weeks. (Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; Editing by Mark Potter)

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