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PRECIOUS-Gold hits 2-week low as upbeat U.S. data lifts dollar

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* SPDR gold holdings fall 0.5 pct on Thursday

* Gold has a strong support at $1,300 level- analyst

By K. Sathya Narayanan

March 1 (Reuters) - Gold prices hit a two-week low on Fridayas upbeat U.S. economic data boosted the dollar, while mountingconcerns over a slowdown in global growth offered support to thesafe-haven metal.

As of 0323 GMT, spot gold XAU= was 0.1 percent higher at$1,313.47 per ounce, after slipping to its lowest since Feb. 15at $1,311.61 earlier in the session.

U.S. gold futures GCv1 were down 0.1 percent at $1,314.80per ounce.

The dollar, which pulled back from over three-week lows,moved closer to a 10-week high against the yen and wasmarginally higher .DXY against major currencies. USD/

The U.S. Commerce Department's report showed abetter-than-expected performance in the fourth quarter pushedgross domestic product (GDP) up 2.9 percent for the year, justshy of the 3 percent annual growth target in 2018.

"Gold is still fundamentally supported for the longer termdespite the bearish pressures we see for now due to slight risein bond yields and a firm dollar," said Benjamin Lu, an analystwith Singapore-based Phillip Futures.

The benchmark 10-year government yield US10YT=RR was up3.1 basis points on Thursday after the U.S. data. US/

Higher yields can translate into more demand for the dollarsince the currency is used to buy bonds, a traditional safehaven, eroding bullion's appeal.

"Asian economic data has weakened significantly and itcontinues to show that the economy has started to slow," Lusaid, adding gold was being supported by broad-based economicweaknesses.

Factory activity in China contracted to a three-year low inFebruary as export orders fell at the fastest pace since theglobal financial crisis.

Also, Japanese manufacturing activity contracted in Februaryat the fastest pace in two-and-a-half years as factories cutback output amid shrinking domestic and export orders, a revisedsurvey showed on Friday.

Gold has lost the support from $1,320 level, technically andhas not got enough boost from Federal Reserve Chairman JeromePowell's testimony and negative news on China-U.S. trade, HongKong-based bullion dealer Wing Fung said in a note.

"Concerning the slowdown of global economic growth, we are not pessimistic about gold," Wing Fung said, adding the metalhas a strong support at $1,300 level.

Reflecting a drop in bullion prices, holdings of SPDR GoldTrust GLD , the world's largest gold-backed exchange-tradedfund, fell 0.52 percent on Thursday. GOL/ETF

Gold may break a support at $1,311 per ounce and fall to thenext support at $1,299, according to Reuters analyst Wang Tao. TECH/C

Among the other precious metals, palladium XPD= gained 0.3percent to $1,548.27 per ounce, after retreating from itsall-time peak of 1,565.09 scaled earlier in the week.

Platinum XPT= was up 0.3 percent at $872.16 per ounce, butwas trading below its more than three-month high of $876 hit inthe previous session.

Spot silver XAG= was flat at $15.60 per ounce. (Reporting by K. Sathya Narayanan in Bengaluru; Editing byGopakumar Warrier) ((Sathya.Narayanan@thomsonreuters.com; within U.S. +1 651 8485832, outside U.S. +91 80 6749 3226/1298; Reuters Messaging:sathya.narayanan.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))


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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