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| 16 July, 2018

PRECIOUS-Gold prices buoyed by weaker dollar, Asian stocks

Spot gold was up 0.2% at $1,243.36 an ounce

Image used for illustrative purpose.
Gold bars and US Dollar bills are pictured in a safe in a bank in Vienna July 21, 2009.

Image used for illustrative purpose. Gold bars and US Dollar bills are pictured in a safe in a bank in Vienna July 21, 2009.

REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader
* Investors await U.S. retail sales data

* Spot gold may break support at $1,237/oz- technicals

* Specs cut net longs in gold in week to July 10

* Silver pulls away from 7-month low

(Adds comment, updates prices)

By Apeksha Nair

BENGALURU, July 16 (Reuters) - Gold prices recovered from a seven-month low on Monday, as the dollar traded below its recent highs and after sluggish GDP data from China weighed on Asian stocks.

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Spot gold was up 0.2 percent at $1,242.86 an ounce at 0730 GMT, after marking the lowest since Dec. 12 at $1,236.58 on Friday.

U.S. gold futures for August delivery were about 0.2 percent higher at $1,243 an ounce.

"The CNH (Chinese yuan traded offshore) is a bit stronger versus the dollar and that's giving gold some support," a Hong Kong-based trader said.

The absence of increased rhetoric out of Beijing or Washington over the weekend likely gave the CNH a bit of reprieve, the trader said, adding that technically gold was under pressure and would still be sold on rallies toward $1,250.

The dollar seesawed versus the Chinese yuan even as official data on Monday showed China's GDP slowed in the second quarter as expected. Against a basket of six major currencies , the greenback traded below a 10-day peak.

A weaker dollar makes greenback denominated gold cheaper for holders of other currencies.

Asian shares were lower on Monday after data pointed to slowing growth in the world's second-largest economy, and as investors remained cautious over the impact of the heated Sino-U.S. trade war.

Gold prices, which can gain in times of political uncertainty, have failed to benefit from the ongoing trade dispute.

"The dollar has been traditionally a safe haven asset, and could be re-positioned as such especially if risk events and uncertainties continue to brew into the backdrop," said OCBC analyst Barnabas Gan.

Meanwhile, investors are looking to June U.S. retail sales data, due later in the day, to assess the state of the economy.

The Federal Reserve on Friday pointed to "solid" U.S. economic growth during the first half of the year in its semi-annual report to Congress, where it also reiterated that it expected to continue to raise interest rates gradually.

Higher U.S. rates tend to boost the greenback and push bond yields up, weighing on non-interest bearing gold.

Spot gold may break a support at $1,237 per ounce and fall to the next support at $1,226, Reuters technicals analyst Wang Tao said.

Hedge funds and money managers cut their net long position in COMEX gold contracts to a 2-1/2-year low in the week to July 10, U.S. data showed on Friday.

In other precious metals, silver was up about 0.2 percent at $15.80 an ounce, after hitting a seven-month low at $15.67 in the previous session.

Platinum was down 0.3 percent at $823.50 an ounce, while palladium climbed 0.4 percent to $940.80.

(Reporting by Apeksha Nair in Bengaluru; editing by Richard Pullin and Subhranshu Sahu) ((Apeksha.Nair@thomsonreuters.com; within U.S. +1 651 848 5832, outside U.S. +91 80 6749 6408/1298; Reuters Messaging: apeksha.nair.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))