July 26, 2019 / 10:23 AM / 24 days ago

CORRECTED-PRECIOUS-Gold consolidates ahead of U.S. data with focus on Fed

(Corrects seventh graph to clarify investors expect U.S. Fed to cut interest rates by 25 basis points and not 0.25 basis points)

* Gold set for first weekly decline in three weeks

* U.S. GDP data due at 1230 GMT

* Silver and platinum on track for third weekly gain

By Karthika Suresh Namboothiri and Arpan Varghese

July 26 (Reuters) - Gold firmed on Friday, having shed 1% in the previous session on robust U.S. jobs data, with investors awaiting further economic readings from Washington that could drive sentiment going into next week’s Federal Reserve meeting.

Spot gold was up 0.5% to $1,420.78 an ounce at 1205 GMT. U.S. gold futures gained 0.4% to $1,420.50

Prices were still on track for a first weekly drop in three, pressured in part by a stronger dollar and spillover from Thursday’s slide after comments from European Central Bank Governor Mario Draghi lowered expectations for an immediate cut to interest rates.

Draghi cautioned against pulling the trigger too quickly on policy easing, though he all but pledged to loosen monetary settings further as the growth outlook deteriorates .

“Gold is consolidating in a broad range from $1,400 to $1,440,” said Jigar Trivedi, commodities analyst at Mumbai-based Anand Rathi Shares & Stock Brokers, adding that support has been provided by ECB hints of stimulus from September.

Capping gold’s momentum, the dollar held near two-month highs as the market awaited second-quarter U.S. gross domestic product numbers that are expected to show the slowest growth in more than two years. The data is due at 1230 GMT.

Amid tepid data from the world’s largest economy, investors expect the U.S. Fed to cut interest rates by 25 basis points at its policy meeting ending on July 31.

“The market will now focus its attention on next week’s Fed meeting ... if Fed Chair Powell indicates that a rate cut cycle is imminent, the dollar is likely to depreciate, which should in turn benefit gold,” Commerzbank said in a note.

On the trade war front, uncertainties over whether Washington and Beijing will be able to settle their differences kept many investors on their guard. Negotiators from the two sides will meet in Shanghai next week.

“We expect gold prices to reduce further in coming sessions ... nonetheless as geopolitical risk in the middle east has escalated, there might be limited downside,” said Anand Rathi analyst Trivedi.

In other precious metals, platinum rose 0.2% to $867.09 an ounce while palladium edged up 0.3% to $1,535.42. Silver, meanwhile, firmed by 0.5% to $16.48.

“Silver is cheap relative to gold, so it has bigger potential. It is going to pull back lower ... any dip below $16 could push buying,” said Gianclaudio Torlizzi, managing director at consultancy T-Commodity in Milan.

Silver was on track for a third week of gains, having risen 1.7% so far. (Reporting by Karthika Suresh Namboothiri and Arpan Varghese in Bengaluru; Editing by MarkPotter)

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