March 6, 2019 / 5:17 PM / 6 months ago

PRECIOUS-Gold prices hold steady with focus on global growth

(Updates prices)

* Silver stays at more than two-month low

* Market awaits ECB’s policy meeting, U.S. jobs data

* OECD cuts global growth forecast for 2019-2020

* Platinum to see largest surplus since at least 2013- WPIC

By Karthika Suresh Namboothiri

March 6 (Reuters) - Gold steadied on Wednesday just above a five-week low touched a day earlier as the dollar retreated slightly and stocks edged lower, with investors awaiting further signals on the health of the global economy.

Spot gold was little changed at $1,286.01 per ounce as of 1:53 p.m. EST (1853 GMT), trading in a narrow $7 range. U.S. gold futures settled up 0.2 percent at $1,287.6 per ounce.

“After the massive sell-off it is not surprising to see the prices stabilize given the cautious tone on the equity market, especially today,” Commerzbank analyst Eugen Weinberg said. “The risks (to the market) are not out, they are only delayed.”

U.S. stocks fell on Wednesday as investors stayed on the sidelines following a strong rally this year, while the U.S. dollar index held steady.

Gold hit a low of $1,280.70 on Tuesday, its weakest level since Jan. 25, with prices down more than 4 percent since hitting a 10-month peak on Feb. 20.

“Gold has found a bid and is starting to stabilize while we are waiting for the ECB pronouncement tomorrow,” said George Gero, managing director at RBC Wealth Management.

Weak data from the euro zone the last couple of weeks has fueled expectations that the European Central Bank at its Thursday meeting could downgrade the area’s growth and inflation forecasts for 2019 and hold off raising interest rates.

Meanwhile, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development cut forecasts again for the global economy in 2019 and 2020, citing trade rows and Brexit uncertainty.

Investors are awaiting U.S. monthly jobs data to be disclosed on Friday, which is considered a key indicator of the health of the world’s largest economy.

“The market is impatiently awaiting the release of the jobs numbers, for which the yellow metal could have an asymmetric reaction to the upside on any disappointment,” Bart Melek, head of commodity strategies at TD Securities in Toronto, said in a note.

Among other precious metals, palladium rose 0.9 percent to $1,529.51 per ounce.

Spot silver declined 0.3 percent to $15.07 per ounce, after hitting its lowest level since Dec. 27, at $15, earlier in the session. Platinum dipped 1.6 percent to $823.

The largest surplus since at least 2013 is projected for the global platinum market this year, the World Platinum Investment Council said, forecasting an oversupply of 680,000 ounces in 2019 after a surplus of 645,000 ounces last year. (Reporting by Karthika Suresh Namboothiri; Additional reporting by Arijit Bose and Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru Editing by Matthew Lewis and Leslie Adler)

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