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PRECIOUS-Gold steadies ahead of U.S. data; off 2-week lows

 * Gold holds near NY levels, off 2-week lows
 * PGM, silver extend losses
 * Coming Up: U.S. retail sales for February, 1330 GMT    
 (Updates prices, adds quotes)
 SINGAPORE, March 12 (Reuters) - Gold steadied on Friday as
the dollar slipped against the euro on worries the U.S. retail
sales for February could show a drop in consumer spending,
denting prospects of a sustainable economic recovery.
 Bullion price has lost more than 7 percent since powering to a
lifetime high above 1,200 an ounce in December last year and is
heading for a weekly decline of more than 2 percent -- its
biggest weekly drop since mid-January.
 Silver, platinum and palladium -- also regarded as
industrial metals -- extended losses after being hit by fund
selling following the release of strong consumer inflation data
from China that triggered worries about monetary tightening.
 Spot gold XAU= hit an intraday high of $1,111.40 an ounce
and was at $1,109.30 by 0237 GMT, unchanged New York's notional
close on Thursday, when it hit a low of around $1,100, its
weakest since Jan. 25.
 Bullion hovered below the 100-day moving average but was
well above the 300-day moving average around $1,000, with
dealers expecting the metal's safe-haven appeal to remain
intact amid fears over sovereign debt issues in euro zone
economies.
 "We are above the 300-day moving average. I think there is
still a chance for gold to continue to move higher in the days
and weeks ahead," said Darren Heathcote, head of trading at
Investec Australia in Sydney.
 "The correlation with gold and euro may return. Obviously
it temporarily broke down when gold sold off yet the euro went
higher. I think as the dollar weakens, we should see gold start
to move ahead again."
 The euro was a tad higher at $1.3685 EUR= from $1.3677
late in New York on Thursday ahead of the release of the U.S.
retail sales data which could show a 0.2 percent decline in
February versus a 0.5 percent increase in January. [USD/]
 The euro briefly came under pressure on Thursday after
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the first priority for
Greece was to win back the confidence of financial markets and
the debt-stricken country's first steps were a positive start.
[ID:nAAT010127].
 The world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR
Gold Trust GLD, said its holdings stood at 1,115.511 tonnes
as of March 11, unchanged from the previous business
day.[GOL/SPDR]
 U.S. gold futures for April delivery GCJ0 rose $1 an
ounce to $1,109.2 after ending slightly higher on Thursday
despite worries that possible monetary tightening by China
could weigh on bullion.
 "The market is absolutely dead if you look at the volumes.
I think we are still consolidating and prices will be stuck in
a range," said a bullion dealer in Hong Kong. "I would say
sentiment is neutral for gold, while the upside for platinum
and palladium is rather limited," he added.
 Platinum group metals have gained on the prospects of
steady demand for autocatalysts as the global economy recovers
and rising investment demand after the launch of platinum- and
palladium-backed exchange-traded products in New York earlier
this year by a U.S. subsidiary of London's ETF Securities.
 The world's largest silver-backed exchange-traded fund, the
iShares Silver Trust SLV, said its holdings fell 48.82 tonnes
from the previous business day to 9,302.58 tonnes as of March
11. [ID:nSGE62B00K]
 Precious metals prices at 0237 GMT
 Metal             Last    Change  Pct chg  YTD pct chg
Turnover
 Spot Gold        1109.30    0.00   +0.00      1.24
 Spot Silver        17.11   -0.05   -0.29      1.66
 Spot Platinum    1598.75  -10.75   -0.67      8.98
 Spot Palladium    456.25   -1.75   -0.38     12.52
 TOCOM Gold       3241.00   12.00   +0.37     -0.55       
26403
 TOCOM Platinum   4649.00   56.00   +1.22      6.12       
11530
 TOCOM Silver       50.20    0.60   +1.21     -2.90         
206
 TOCOM Palladium  1328.00   27.00   +2.08     13.99         
392
 Euro/Dollar       1.3678
 Dollar/Yen         90.58
 (Editing by Himani Sarkar)






































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