PRECIOUS-Gold inches up as investors await Bernanke testimony
* Markets expect hints of stimulus from Bernanke
* Spot gold faces resistance at $1,594/ounce - technicals
* Coming up: US Fed Chairman Bernanke testimony (Updates prices)
By Rujun Shen
SINGAPORE, July 17 (Reuters) - Gold edged higher on Tuesday ahead of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's Congressional testimony, which is expected to provide clues on whether the U.S. central bank will launch further monetary stimulus.
Bernanke's appearance follows lacklustre data in the previous session that showed retail sales fell in June for a third consecutive month, adding to a string of recent soft data suggesting that U.S. economic growth might be faltering.
Bullion also found support as the dollar came under pressure ahead of Bernanke's testimony and headed for a third consecutive session of losses against a basket of currencies.
The inverse correlation between gold and the dollar has strengthened over the past few weeks, which means that the two increasingly move in the opposite directions.
"Gold will probably trade flat with an upside bias today," said Lynette Tan, an analyst at Phillip Futures in Singapore. "The market seems to have priced in the expectation of more easing. If there is some sort of hint that there could be quantitative easing later, gold could break above $1,600."
Bullion has been trading sideways in a $100 range above $1,530 for about two months, with investors lacking conviction on price direction as the Fed remained non-committal on more stimulus.
Spot gold inched up 0.1 percent to $1,591.56 an ounce by 0650 GMT.
U.S. gold futures contract for August delivery was little changed at $1,591.50.
Asia's bullion buyers have moved back to the sidelines of the market after prices rebounded from last week's low near $1,550 per ounce, dealers said.
"We saw some decent demand from Hong Kong and Southeast Asia at the end of last week, but now with prices testing $1,600 physical demand will quiet down," said a Tokyo-based dealer.
The International Monetary Fund on Monday cut its forecast for global economic growth and warned the outlook could dim further if policymakers in the euro zone did not act with enough force and speed to quell their region's debt crisis.
U.S. 10-year bond yields fell to match historic lows on Monday after a surprise drop in retail sales provided the latest evidence of a slowing economy, bolstering bets of new stimulus measures from the Federal Reserve.
Precious metals prices 0650 GMT Metal Last Change Pct chg YTD pct chg Volume Spot Gold 1591.56 1.77 +0.11 1.78 Spot Silver 27.35 0.06 +0.22 -1.23 Spot Platinum 1416.70 4.65 +0.33 1.70 Spot Palladium 578.15 4.92 +0.86 -11.39 COMEX GOLD AUG2 1591.50 -0.10 -0.01 1.58 15102 COMEX SILVER SEP2 27.32 0.00 -0.00 -2.13 3110 Euro/Dollar 1.2287 Dollar/Yen 78.92 COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months (Editing by Himani Sarkar)
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