PRECIOUS-Gold marks time before Bernanke testimony
SINGAPORE, July 16 (Reuters) - Gold was little changed on Tuesday as investors awaited Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's congressional testimony later this week for clues on when the U.S. central bank would begin tapering its monetary stimulus.
* Spot gold was down 0.01 percent at $1,281.84 an ounce by 0011 GMT, after falling slightly on Monday.
* U.S. gold was down $2.30 at $1,281.20.
* U.S. retail sales rose less than expected in June, the latest sign of a slowdown in economic growth that offers a cautionary note to the Federal Reserve as it mulls scaling back its $85 billion monthly bond purchases.
* The disappointment was tempered by accelerating growth in New York State's manufacturing sector in July, according to a report from the New York Federal Reserve that provides one of the earliest monthly guideposts to U.S. factory conditions.
* The market is now focused on Bernanke's semiannual testimony to congressional committees on Wednesday and Thursday, which will be watched for further signs about the timing and speed of any reduction in bond purchases.
* Investors are awaiting greater stability in gold prices before returning to an asset that has slumped this year, even though concerns over the economic recovery are burnishing the metal's longer-term appeal.
* A Chilean appeals court on Monday suspended Barrick Gold Corp's controversial Pascua-Lama gold mine until the company builds infrastructure to prevent water pollution, and ordered the mine's environmental permit be reviewed.
* South Africa's Chamber of Mines offered a 4 percent pay rise to gold industry workers on Monday, a fraction of the 60 to 100 percent demanded by trade unions in salary talks billed as the toughest since the end of apartheid in 1994.
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* The dollar rose against the yen on Monday as traders said a selloff last week was overdone because the Fed is still likely to be the first among major central banks to move away from ultra-loose monetary policy.
DATA/EVENTS (GMT) 0900 Euro zone Eurostat trade 0900 Germany ZEW economic sentiment 1145 U.S. ICSC weekly chain store sales 1230 U.S. CPI 1255 U.S. Redbook weekly retail sales 1315 U.S. Industrial output 1400 U.S. NAHB housing market index Precious metals prices 0011 GMT
Metal Last Change Pct chg YTD pct chg Volume Spot Gold 1281.84 -0.15 -0.01 -23.45 Spot Silver 19.85 -0.04 -0.20 -34.45 Spot Platinum 1414.24 -7.76 -0.55 -7.87 Spot Palladium 729.75 1.25 +0.17 5.46 COMEX GOLD AUG3 1281.20 -2.30 -0.18 -23.55 1660 COMEX SILVER SEP3 19.83 -0.01 -0.05 -34.57 326 Euro/Dollar 1.3064 Dollar/Yen 99.93
COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months
(Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi; Editing by Chris Gallagher)