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Gold holds above $1,300 with U.S. retail sales data, Ukraine in focus

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Shutterstock photo - - Gold futures held above the key $1,300-level on Wednesday, as market players looked ahead to key U.S. economic data later in the session while awaiting further developments in Ukraine.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold for December delivery dipped 0.17%, or $2.20, to trade at $1,308.40 a troy ounce during European morning hours.

Prices held in a narrow range between $1,307.50 and $1,312.50 an ounce. A day earlier, gold prices eased up 0.01%, or 10 cents, to settle at $1,310.60.

Futures were likely to find support at $1,288.50, the low from August 6 and resistance at $1,324.30, the high from August 8.

Markets watchers looked ahead to U.S. data on July retail sales later Wednesday for further clues about the economy and the timing of future interest rate hikes.

The Commerce Department is expected to report that retail sales grew 0.2% last month, while core sales were forecast to rise 0.4%.

Meanwhile, in Ukraine, a Russian convoy of 280 trucks carrying humanitarian aid headed for the border amid Western warnings against using help as a pretext for an invasion.

Elsewhere, the U.S. sent about 130 additional military personnel to Iraq on Tuesday, after recently launching air strikes targeting jihadi militants from the Islamic State insurgent group in the northern part of the country.

Gold is often seen as a haven investment in times of geopolitical uncertainty.

Also on the Comex, silver for September delivery eased up 0.15%, or 3.0 cents, to trade at $19.93 a troy ounce.

Elsewhere in metals trading, copper for September delivery slumped 0.72%, or 2.3 cents, to trade at a seven-week low of $3.132 a pound after disappointing Chinese economic data fuelled concerns over the health of the world's second largest economy.

Official data released earlier showed that industrial production in China rose at an annualized rate of 9% in July, in line with forecasts and slowing from an increase of 9.2% a month earlier.

Fixed asset investment, which tracks construction activity, increased 17.0% in the January-July period, below expectations for a gain of 17.4% and slowing from 17.3% in the January-June period.

Meanwhile, Chinese bank lending and money supply growth for July also came in below expectations, underlining concerns about slowing growth in the world's biggest consumer of the industrial metal.

Chinese new loans dropped to 385.2 billion yuan last month from 1.08 trillion yuan in June and missed forecasts of 780 billion yuan.

The broad M2 money supply rose 13.5% on year in July, compared to growth of 14.7% a month earlier and below forecast for a 14.5% increase.

China's total social financing aggregate, a broad measure of liquidity in the economy, fell to 273.1 billion yuan in July, the lowest monthly reading since October 2008. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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