* SPDR gold ETFgains, 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 goldheld 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, 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 deliverywere 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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