August 14, 2014 / 10:25 AM / in 4 years

PRECIOUS-Gold edges up but gains capped by Putin, US job data

* Four-week jobless claims signal job growth
    * Putin offers conciliatory note on Ukraine crisis
    * Gold demand fell in 2nd-qtr -World Gold Council
    * Coming up: U.S. producer price index Friday

 (New throughout, updates prices and market activity)
    By Frank Tang and Clara Denina 
    NEW YORK/LONDON, Aug 14 (Reuters) - Gold prices were a touch
higher on Thursday in thin trading, but gains were limited by
U.S. jobless claims data which showed continued recovery in the
labor market and conciliatory comments from Russian President
Vladimir Putin about Ukraine.
    The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment
benefits rose more than expected last week. But analysts said
the four-week average of claims remained consistent with solid
job gains. 
    Analysts said some recent U.S. economic indicators have fed
investor skepticism about whether the U.S. economy is definitely
out of the woods. Gold prices have been under pressure due to
speculation that a stronger economy could encourage the Federal
Reserve to raise interest rates soon.
    "These data releases give gold a boost now and again as they
are seen as restraining the more hawkish Fed governors, though
they haven't ever been enough to change medium-term expectations
for the U.S. economy or gold," Turner said.
    Spot gold was up 0.1 percent on the day to $1,313.39
an ounce by 3:07 p.m.
    U.S. COMEX gold futures for December delivery settled
up $1.20 at $1,315.70, with trading volume about 35 percent
below its 30-day average, preliminary Reuters data showed.
    On Wednesday, a disappointing retail sales report for July
eased fears that the Fed might raise rates sooner than expected.
    Bullion gains were also limited on signs of easing tensions
after President Vladimir Putin said Russia would stand up for
itself but not at the cost of confrontation with the outside
    So far this year, gold has risen 9 percent, boosted by
political conflict in Ukraine, Iraq and Israel. But in physical
market news, the World Gold Council said global gold demand fell
in the second quarter, as sales of jewelry, coin and bar sales
tumbled from last year's record levels, a factor that outweighed
lower liquidation of gold-backed exchange-traded funds.
    Reflecting investor sentiment, holdings in SPDR Gold Trust
, the world's largest gold-backed ETF, fell 0.26 tonnes to
795.60 tonnes on Wednesday. 
    Among other precious metals, silver was up 0.2
percent at $19.86 an ounce. Platinum edged up 0.1 percent
to $1,461.93 an ounce, while palladium gained 0.7 percent
to $880.25 an ounce.
3:07 PM EDT     LAST/    NET   PCT      LOW    HIGH  CURRENT
               SETTLE   CHNG  CHNG                       VOL
US Gold DEC   1315.70   1.20   0.1  1310.00 1321.80   98,395
US Silver SEP  19.906  0.061   0.3   19.785  19.985   34,476
US Plat OCT   1469.20  -0.70   0.0  1465.20 1475.00    6,218
US Pall SEP    886.15   4.55   0.5   877.65  887.25    4,164

Gold          1313.39   1.03   0.1  1309.21 1319.10         
Silver         19.860  0.040   0.2   19.820  20.010
Platinum      1461.93   2.03   0.1  1464.50 1470.50
Palladium      880.25   5.95   0.7   879.00  885.00

               CURRENT   30D AVG  250D AVG   CURRENT     CHG
US Gold        104,437   162,683   157,479     13.95   -0.48
US Silver       44,857    48,268    58,003     17.63   -0.67
US Platinum      6,294     8,584    12,422     13.11   -0.13
US Palladium     4,824     5,443     5,682     19.78    0.88

 (Additional reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi in Singapore;
Editing by William Hardy, Jane Baird and David Gregorio)
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