September 15, 2017 / 10:55 AM / in 9 months

PRECIOUS-Gold weighed down by prospects of ECB, Fed tightening

    * ECB official calls for cutting bond purchases
    * U.S. retail sales unexpectedly fall in Aug
    * Platinum sinks to one-month low
    * Coming up: Two-day Fed meeting starts Sept. 19

 (Updates prices; adds comment, second byline, NEW YORK
    By Marcy Nicholson and Eric Onstad
    NEW YORK/LONDON, Sept 15 (Reuters) - Gold prices fell on
Friday after a European Central Bank (ECB) official called for
scaling back the bank's stimulus program, although losses were
capped when weaker-than-expected U.S. economic data raised
questions about further interest rate hikes. 
    ECB board member Sabine Lautenschlaeger made the most
explicit call so far from an ECB policymaker for paring the
bank's 2.3 trillion euros money-printing program.
    "For gold this is bad news because this continues the trend
of the market pricing in the normalization of monetary policy,"
said Jens Pedersen, senior analyst at Danske Bank in Copenhagen.
    But he said there had already been plenty of headlines about
the ECB planning an exit from its bond buying and the U.S.
Federal Reserve reducing its balance sheet after its big
quantitative easing program.
    Spot gold        was down 0.6 percent at $1,321.88 an ounce
by 1:47 p.m. EDT (1747 GMT). It was down 1.8 percent for the
week, on track for its biggest weekly decline since early July.
    U.S. gold futures         for December delivery settled down
0.3 percent at $1,325.20.
    Those "normalization" actions by central banks tend to
pressure gold. 
    Gold briefly pared losses on news that U.S. retail sales
unexpectedly fell in August and industrial output dropped for
the first time since January, in contrast to Thursday's strong
U.S. inflation data.                          
    Gold largely shrugged off North Korea's firing of another
missile over Hokkaido, Japan.             
    "Markets are paying much more attention to global economic
data," said Rob Haworth, senior investment strategist at U.S.
Bank Wealth Management in Seattle.
    "The synchronized global growth story is gaining momentum
and the uptick in inflation seems to mean that the Fed has plans
to make their planned moves."
    The Fed's two-day monetary policy meeting begins on Sept.
    Commerzbank said August gold imports into India, the world's
second biggest gold consumer, were the lowest so far this year.
    In other precious metals, platinum's discount to gold fell
to around $360, the lowest according to Reuters data dating back
to 1985.
    Platinum        dropped 1 percent to $969 an ounce after
touching $959.95, the lowest since Aug. 16. This is also around
where the 50-day moving average crossed above the 200-day moving
average. The metal was down 3.7 percent for the week, on track
for its biggest weekly drop since March.
    Silver        fell 0.8 percent to $17.61 and was set to mark
its first weekly decline in four.
    Palladium        rose 0.2 percent to $924.10 and was heading
for a second weekly decline.

 (Additional reporting by Apeksha Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by
Elaine Hardcastle and Richard Chang)
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