* Bullion down about 1.3 percent so far this week
* Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust near their lowest since Oct
* Palladium trading below previous session's 2-week peak
* U.S. retail sales data due at 1230 GMT
By Arijit Bose
April 18 (Reuters) - Gold traded near its lowest level since
end-December on Thursday as indications that the global economy might
not be as pain-stricken as previously feared prompted investors to
take risks ahead of a slew of economic data.
Spot gold eased 0.1 percent to $1,273 per ounce by 0722 GMT,
having fallen to $1,270.99 earlier in the session, its lowest since
The metal has so far lost about 1.3 percent in the
holiday-shortened week, and is on track for a fourth straight weekly
decline. Most markets are closed for Good Friday on April 19.
U.S. gold futures lost 0.1 percent to $1,275.60 an ounce.
"What we see here is the moderation of some of the extreme
concerns about the global growth outlook," said Michael McCarthy,
chief market strategist at CMC Markets.
"Recent data over the last 10 sessions or so have eased
concerns and safe-haven assets have been under significant pressure."
Among a string of positive economic indications were data from
both United States and China that tempered concerns about global
growth and took the sheen off safe-haven bullion.
China's economy grew at a steady pace in the first quarter,
defying expectations of further weakness, while trade deficit in the
U.S. fell to an eight-month low in February, boosting the country's
economic growth in the previous quarter.
The two counties have set a tentative timeline for the next round
of trade talks and aim to conclude negotiations by early June,
according to a Wall Street Journal report on Wednesday.
"Gold prices continue to sag on better economic data broadly
while trade optimism appears poised to finally deliver a deal by early
June at the latest," OANDA senior market analyst Edward Moya said
in a note.
"The yellow metal is also weaker from momentum on China's
surprising better-than-expected GDP, retails sales and industrial
Asian shares remain close to a nine-month peak. Focus has now
turned to the release of Purchasing Managers' Indexes (PMIs) for the
manufacturing and service sectors in Europe later in the day to
provide more cues on the strength of the euro zone economy.
Investors also await the U.S. retail sales data later in the day.
Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust , the world's largest gold-backed
exchange-traded fund, were at 752.86 tonnes on Wednesday, still around
their lowest levels since Oct. 27.
Elsewhere, silver was unchanged at $15 an ounce and platinum
dipped 0.1 percent to $881.85.
Palladium slipped 0.8 percent to $1,389.68 an ounce, having
jumped 3.9 percent to a two-week high of $1,406.81 in the previous
(Reporting by Arijit Bose in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry
Jacob-Phillips, Shreejay Sinha & Uttaresh.V)
((Arijit.Bose@thomsonreuters.com; Within U.S. +1 651 848 5832,
Outside U.S. +91 8067495254; Reuters Messaging: Arijit.Bose.firstname.lastname@example.org))