PRECIOUS-Gold down 1 pct on China inflation, ends week flat
* Chinese inflation rate hits 7-month high in December
* Prices slide below 200-day moving average
* TOCOM gold hits record high on yen weakness
(New throughout, updates prices, market activity, changes byline, dateline, previously LONDON) NEW YORK, Jan 11 (Reuters) - Gold fell 1 percent on Friday, finishing nearly flat for the week, after growing inflation pressure in China dented hopes for more stimulus from the world's second-largest economy. The metal slid after data showed China's annual consumer inflation rate quickened to a seven-month high of 2.5 percent in December. Analysts said the inflation data is leaving the economy in a sweet spot now that calls for no change in interest rates. "A pick-up in the Chinese inflation number has some people thinking maybe the long-anticipated Chinese stimulus may not (happen)", said Frank McGhee, head precious metals trader at Integrated Brokerage Services LLC. Bullion slipped below its 200-day moving average, failing to hold the previous session's 1 percent gain. Spot gold was down 1 percent to $1,658.07 an ounce by 1:14 p.m. EST (1814 GMT). For the week, it is on track for a 0.1 percent gain, as better Asian physical demand and rallies in the platinum group metals lifted gold. U.S. COMEX gold futures for February delivery were down $19.90 an ounce at $1,658.10, with volume on track to finish above its 250-day average, preliminary Reuters data showed. Gold is down 1 percent so far this year after posting its biggest quarterly decline in more than four years at the end of 2012. Gold's failure to rise on U.S. quantitative easing measures has shaken investor confidence in the precious metal. Tokyo gold futures also hit a record high as the yen dropped to a 2-1/2-year low after the Japanese government approved $117 billion of spending to revive the economy in the biggest stimulus since the financial crisis. The pick-up in physical gold buying in China ahead of the Lunar New Year and uncertainty related to the U.S. debt-ceiling crisis suggested gold prices will rebound in 2013, Barclays strategists said in a Friday note. Holdings of the world's biggest gold-backed exchange-traded fund SPDR Gold Trust, however, declined by a further 2.1 tonnes on January 10, data from the fund showed. It has seen an outflow of 13.1 tonnes so far this year. Silver was down 1.6 percent at $30.32 an ounce.
PGM UP FOR WEEK Platinum group metals, used in autocatalysts, are both on track for gain this week, outperforming gold. PGMs are boosted Gold's premium over platinum, a historically unusual phenomenon that has persisted since the first quarter of 2012, fell to less than $40 an ounce on Friday, from around $140 at the end of 2012. Platinum was up 0.1 percent to $1,623.70 an ounce. The white metal has risen more than 5 percent so far this year. Platinum benefited in the second half of 2012 from a deadly wave of violence linked to industrial action in South Africa, source of four out of five ounces of the world's platinum. Among other PGMs, palladium edged up 0.4 percent to $699.40 an ounce. It is set to end the week up around 2 percent. Prices at 1:14 p.m. EST (1813 GMT)
LAST NET PCT YTD CHG CHG CHG US gold 1658.10 -19.90 -1.2% -1.1% US silver 30.355 -0.563 -1.9% 0.4% US platinum 1636.30 -3.10 -0.2% 6.3% US palladium 703.60 1.40 0.2% 0.0%Gold 1658.07 -16.57 -1.0% -1.0% Silver 30.32 -0.50 -1.6% 0.0% Platinum 1623.70 0.90 0.1% 5.6% Palladium 699.40 3.10 0.4% -0.4%Gold Fix 1657.50 -12.00 -0.7% -0.4% Silver Fix 30.67 18.00 0.6% 2.4% Platinum Fix 1626.00 0.00 0.0% 6.8% Palladium Fix 693.50 1.50 0.2% -0.8%
(Additional reporting by Jan Harvey in London and Rujun Shen in Singapore; Editing by David Gregorio)