By Eileen Soreng
July 16 (Reuters) - Gold edged lower on Thursday as the dollar firmed, but worries over mounting coronavirus cases and worsening U.S.-China ties limited declines and kept bullion above the psychological $1,800 level.
Spot gold XAU= eased 0.4% to $1,804.62 per ounce by 0950 GMT. Prices were $13.09 shy of $1,817.71, its highest since September 2011, hit last week.
U.S. gold futures GCcv1 fell 0.4% to $1,806.60.
"The dollar index's reclaiming of the 96 psychological level is taking some of the shine off gold for the time being, as the precious metal attempts to stay above the $1,800 psychological level," said FXTM market analyst Han Tan.
"Overall, the current market outlook remains conducive for bullion bulls, considering the lingering concerns over the global economy's ability to move past the pandemic."
Making gold expensive for holders of other currencies, the dollar .DXY rose 0.2% against its rivals benefiting from some safe-haven inflows following weak Chinese retail sales data in June. USD/
"Gold is tied in a trading range of $1,800 and $1,815," said ActivTrades chief analyst Carlo Alberto De Casa, adding, further lockdowns will be negative for economies, and positive for gold.
European shares eased from a one-month peak after a batch of weak earnings, while investors awaited the European Central Bank's policy decision at 1145 GMT. .EU
Safe-haven gold has risen over 19% this year, also benefiting from low interest rates and widespread stimulus as it's seen as a hedge against inflation and currency debasement, although market participants are still divided on the outlook for inflation.
Deteriorating Sino-U.S. relations also supported gold.
Washington plans to impose visa restrictions on Chinese firms and take possible action to address perceived security risks posed by Chinese apps TikTok and WeChat.
Elsewhere, palladium XPD= dropped 0.7% to $1,966.87 per ounce, platinum XPT= lost 0.5% to $828.20 and silver XAG= slipped 1% to $19.19.
(Reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru; Editing by Barbara Lewis)
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