PRECIOUS-Gold holds above $1,640 on short-term positioning
* Poor euro zone data hurts euro, European stocks ease
* Global gold demand down 4 pct last year at 4,405 T-WGC
* India relaxes rules on gold deposit scheme
(Adds comments, updates prices)
LONDON, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Gold held comfortably above this week's five-week lows on Thursday on short-term speculative buying, but further gains were capped by weakness in the euro and global shares.
Analysts saw some interest from short-term investors looking to cover their positions in gold, but as the technical picture remained weak, they predicted further liquidation unless a more convincing move higher is seen.
Gold rose 0.2 percent to $1,645.91 an ounce by 1504 GMT. U.S. gold for April delivery were up 0.1 percent to $1,647.10 an ounce. Spot gold fell to a low of $1,638.83 on Tuesday on technical selling pressure after prices breached a succession of support levels.
"There might be some short-term (positioning) ... but what you mostly see is that there has not been much gold being bought by ETFs and there's no marginal buyer pushing the price significantly higher," Tim Dudley, precious metals analyst at Canaccord Genuity, said.
"At the same time other assets that are performing better than gold, meaning that there are a lot of places where people can put their cash at the moment."
Gold has tended to track stock markets for much of the last year, benefiting from a sharper appetite for assets seen as higher risk, but the relationship is fluid.
On Thursday it was missing the support of the euro, which fell against the dollar, and of European shares after data showed the French and German economies both shrank more than expected in the final quarter of 2012.
In the United States, weekly initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped more than expected last week, further supporting the dollar.
Gold investment has generally softened this year on signs that economies such as the United States and China are picking up, while problems of sovereign debt and economic weakness in Europe are expected to persist.
"One of the key risks to a bullish gold view right now is the pick-up in global economic growth, which takes the shine off defensive assets like gold," broker UBS said in a note.
FOCUS ON G20
The next focus for the market is a meeting of G20 finance and central bank officials for clues about global growth and also their views on currencies.
"We are going through a period of flat gold price until we get a new direction on currencies' performance and on the way economies are going to manage their debt crisis," Dudley said.
The physical market remained subdued in Asia, with Chinese players still out for the Lunar New Year celebrations.
"The lack of physical demand out of Asia clearly has participants reluctant to take long positions in the metal," broker Standard Bank said.
A slight support to sentiment was lent by news that India's central bank has relaxed rules on gold deposit scheme offered by banks by allowing the lenders to offer the product with lesser maturity.
Global gold demand fell last year for the first time since 2009, down four percent to 4,405 tonnes, as jewellery buying abated in the key Indian and Chinese markets and U.S. and European coin and bar investment dropped, the World Gold Council said in a report on Thursday.
Platinum gained 0.2 percent to $1,721.50, still within sight of a 17-month peak struck last week. Palladium was unchanged at $765.50, having risen to its strongest since Sept. 5, 2011 at $775 in the previous session.
Longer-term fundamentals remain strong for the platinum group metals (PGMs), due to constrained supplies in major markets like South Africa, where mining companies are struggling against rising costs and declining productivity.
South African miner Impala Platinum reported a 78 percent plunge in first-half profit on Thursday.
Silver was up 0.5 percent at $30.87 an ounce. Prices touched a one-month low of $30.56 on Tuesday, before recovering alongside gold.
(Editing by William Hardy)