PRECIOUS-Gold extends losses into 2nd day on stimulus uncertainty
* Strong U.S. data stirs fears of early end to stimulus
* Shanghai gold futures fall for second day
* Holdings in SPDR drop to lowest since Feb 2009
(Adds comment, detail on China demand) SINGAPORE, June 14 (Reuters) - Gold extended losses into a second session on Friday as strong U.S. data stoked uncertainty over the outlook for the Federal Reserve's massive bond-buying stimulus. A pull back in bond purchases would hurt gold, seen as a hedge against inflation. Bullion, down 17 percent for the year, has been hit by investor outflows in gold exchange traded funds and signs of softening demand in key buyers India and China. "There is uncertainty about the Fed tapering," said Brian Lan, managing director of Singapore-based dealer GoldSilver Central Pte Ltd. "With unemployment rates still high, I don't think they will remove the easing that soon, maybe next year," he added, referring to data last week showing the unemployment ticking a tenth of a point higher. Spot gold had fallen 0.07 percent to $1,384.50 an ounce by 0338 GMT after losing about 0.15 percent on Thursday. U.S. gold rose about $6.20 to $1384. On Thursday, data showed that U.S. retail sales rose more than expected in May and first-time applications for unemployment benefits fell last week - a possible trigger for the Fed to start winding down its stimulus. Markets are now shifting their attention on the central bank's policy meeting on June 18 and 19.
DEMAND EASING Physical demand in India and China, the world's top two bullion buyers, is slowing from peak levels seen during the April sell-off in the metal. Net gold imports into India fell from an average of $135 million in the first half of May to $36 million in the second half, the finance minister said. The government has raised the import duty on gold and curbed gold financing in an effort to cut its current account deficit. China saw some demand during the long holiday earlier this week but not enough to support gold prices, dealers in Hong Kong said. Shanghai gold futures dropped about 0.4 percent on Friday after declining 1.5 percent the day before. Holdings in SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell 0.63 percent to 1,003.53 tonnes on Thursday -- their lowest since February 2009.
Precious metals prices 0338 GMT
Metal Last Change Pct chg YTD pct chg Volume Spot Gold 1384.50 -0.94 -0.07 -17.32 Spot Silver 21.74 -0.06 -0.28 -28.20 Spot Platinum 1452.49 1.99 +0.14 -5.38 Spot Palladium 728.97 -0.53 -0.07 5.34 COMEX GOLD AUG3 1384.00 6.20 +0.45 -17.41 7919
COMEX SILVER JUL3 --
Euro/Dollar 1.3353 Dollar/Yen 94.73
COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months
(Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi; Editing by Richard Pullin and Joseph Radford)