PRECIOUS-Gold inches up as sluggish euro zone data rekindles growth fears

* Bullion down about 1 percent so far this week

* Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust near their lowest since Oct

* U.S. retail sales data due at 1230 GMT (Updates prices, adds comment)

April 18 (Reuters) - Gold prices edged up on Thursday fromthe near 4-month low touched early in the session after datashowing euro zone businesses were under pressure broughtconcerns about global growth back to the fore.

Spot gold XAU= was up 0.2 percent at $1,275.71 per ounceby 0947 GMT, having fallen to its lowest since Dec. 27 at$1,270.63 earlier in the session.

The metal has so far lost about 1 percent in theholiday-shortened week, on track for a fourth straight weeklydecline. Most markets are closed for Good Friday on April 19.

Euro zone businesses started this quarter on the back foot,with growth unexpectedly slowing again, surveys showed.

"The figures for the euro zone were mixed. The marketclearly does not know what to do next. But the European CentralBank is going to be on hold, which is offering some support forgold," Quantitative Commodity Research analyst Peter Fertigsaid.

Gold, as a non-yielding asset, tends to suffer when centralbanks raise interest rates.

"The stock markets are down and that's compensating a bit ingold," Fertig added. "Uncertainty about the economic situationis also supporting thegold marketa little bit."

Global shares erased this week's gains after the weakmanufacturing surveys from Asia and Europe stoked fears of aslowdown in global growth. MKTS/GLOB

The euro zone numbers come at a time when global marketswere slowly recovering from fears of a slowdown after a slew ofpositive data from China and the United States.

Also on investors' radar will be developments in U.S.-Chinatrade talks.

Washington and Beijing have set a tentative timeline for thenext round of talks and are aiming to conclude negotiations byearly June, according to a Wall Street Journal report onWednesday.

Market participants will also keep a close eye on U.S.retail sales data later in the day for clues on the country'seconomic health.

Meanwhile, holdings of the world's largest gold-backedexchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold TrustGLD , stood at 752.86tonnes on Wednesday, a marginal increase from the previous daybut still around their lowest levels since Oct. 27. GOL/ETF

"While holdings in SPDR Gold shares have dropped to asix-month low, overall gold holdings in physically-backed ETFshave remained relatively consistent, suggesting macro assetallocators continue to maintain some exposure in the wider riskenvironment," BMO Capital Markets said in a research note.

Elsewhere, silver XAG= was unchanged at $15 an ounce andplatinum XPT= rose 0.2 percent to $885.15.

Palladium XPD= slipped 0.6 percent to $1,392 an ounce,having jumped 3.9 percent to a two-week high of $1,406.81 in theprevious session. (Reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; Editing by JanHarvey) ((; (Within U.S.1-651-848-5832, Outside U.S. +91 8067496031); Reuters

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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