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PRECIOUS-Gold steadies near $925 as dollar recovers, ETF up

 * SPDR gold ETF XAUEXT-NYS-TT gains, 1st time in a month
 * Current levels seen high enough to slow investment
 * More signs of economic turmoil would give gold fresh lift
 TOKYO, May 14 (Reuters) - Gold held steady around $925 per
ounce on Thursday as a recovery in the dollar dented sentiment,
pushing prices below a six-week high touched the previous day
on buying by gold-backed exchange-traded funds.
 Despite U.S. and euro zone data suggesting recent optimism
about a global economic recovery may have been premature, gold
struggled to extend gains as current prices were already seen
as high, traders said.
 "Gold prices have been stabilising at relatively high
levels, slowing fresh investment," said a senior trader at a
Japanese smelter.
 "For gold prices to break above recent ranges, there has to
be some fresh news about economic turmoil," he said.
 But gains in other commodities such as oil and base metals
in recent weeks suggest gold will remain supported, keeping
prices in the $915-$930 range for now, the senior trader said.
 Spot gold XAU= held steady at $924.00 per ounce, down 0.2
percent from New York's notional close of $925.45. It fell 0.4
percent to a low of $922.20 earlier on Thursday.
 On Wednesday, gold rose to a six-week high of $930.40 an
ounce as buying by exchange-traded funds and losses in stock
markets boosted interest in the metal.
 The world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, the
SPDR Gold Trust GLD, said holdings had risen to 1,105.62
tonnes as of May 13, up 1.53 tonnes from the previous business
day for the first gain in a month.
 The holdings began declining after hitting a record high on
April 9 as a rise in share prices has lessened bullion's
appeal. [GOL/SPDR]
 Ronald Leung, a dealer at Lee Cheong Gold Dealers, said it
was still too early to say the modest increase signaled the
start of buying into ETFs, which had earlier this year
attracted investors wary of taking risks.
 "It's only increased a little bit. It's not very
significant," he said.
 Traders said the decline in equities has kept gold's
safe-haven status intact for now.
 U.S. gold futures for June delivery GCM9 were little
changed at $924.70 per ounce, down 0.1 percent from Wednesday's
settlement of $925.90 on the COMEX division of the New York
Mercantile Exchange.
 The dollar kept gains on Thursday against the yen and euro
after rallying broadly the day before, as an unexpected decline
in April's U.S. retail sales raised concerns about the state of
the economy and rekindled demand for the greenback as a safe
haven.
 Gold becomes more expensive for holders of other currencies
as the U.S. currency strengthens.
 Hopes that the U.S. economy would soon emerge from
recession were dented when U.S. retail sales fell for a second
straight month in April. [ID:nLD378266]
 Euro zone industrial output plummeted by 20.2 percent
year-on-year in March, setting a record and indicating
first-quarter economic output could have contracted more than
expected. [ID:nLD842143]
 Vietnam's gold traders have sought permission from the
central bank to import up to $600 million worth of gold,
calling for an end to a year-long ban, a state-run newspaper
reported.
 [ID:nHAN383633]
 Precious metals prices at 0624 GMT
 Metal             Last    Change  Pct chg  YTD pct chg
Turnover
 Spot Gold         924.45   -1.00   -0.11      5.03
 Spot Silver        13.95    0.01   +0.07     23.23
 Spot Platinum    1103.00   -8.00   -0.72     18.35
 Spot Palladium    221.50    1.00   +0.45     20.05
 TOCOM Gold       2857.00  -37.00   -1.28     11.04      
22054
 TOCOM Platinum   3422.00 -129.00   -3.63     29.03      
12642
 TOCOM Silver      425.90  -15.60   -3.53     33.39        
229
 TOCOM Palladium   688.00  -54.00   -7.28     25.09        
453
 Euro/Dollar       1.3562
 Dollar/Yen         95.59
 TOCOM prices in yen per gram, except TOCOM silver which is
 priced in yen per 10 grams. Spot prices in $ per ounce.
 (Additional reporting by Miho Yoshikawa; Editing by Ben Tan)






































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