PRECIOUS-Gold pares losses after U.S. data, Indian tax hike weighs
* Retail sales rise 0.2 percent in July, below forecasts
Dollar rises 0.6 percent after U.S. data
* India hikes gold import duty for 3rd time in 2013
(Updates prices, adds comment)
By Zhe Sun and Clara Denina
LONDON, Aug 13 (Reuters) - Gold cut some losses on Tuesday after U.S. retail sales for July came in below consensus, but remained under pressure from a stronger dollar and news of a new hike in Indian import tax.
Traders also reported low volumes of trading during the summer holiday period.
Spot gold, which fell to a session low of $1,323.24 an ounce earlier, was trading at $1,330.16, down 0.4 percent by 1422 GMT.
U.S. gold futures for December dropped $4.60 to $1,329.60 an ounce.
"Retail sales helped gold gain back some of the losses seen earlier, in particular those losses on the news from India," Mitsubishi analyst Jonathan Butler said.
U.S. July retail sales rose 0.2 percent, slightly below expectations for a 0.3 percent rise, while July import and export prices also came in slightly under expectations, adding little to the case for the Federal Reserve to start tapering its economic stimulus sooner rather than later.
But news retail sales excluding cars, gasoline and building materials rose at their fastest pace in seven months gave the dollar a boost, up 0.6 percent against a basket of currencies.
Traders are closely focused on U.S. economic data for signs of economic momentum as they anticipate that the Federal Reserve will start reducing its $85 billion monthly bond purchases in September if the economy is gaining traction.
Gold has fallen about 20 percent this year on expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve will start to scale back its economic stimulus programme. Tapering the stimulus would support a higher interest rate environment that diminished gold's attractiveness.
INDIA RAISES IMPORT TAX
Gold prices were hit by earlier news that the Indian federal government raised import duty on refined gold bars for a third time in eight months to 10 percent from 8 percent and on silver to 10 percent from 6 percent.
"The bearishness is more to do with the fact that this last move reinforces the view that the Indian government will carry on adding more measures until imports are reduced," Macquarie analyst Matthew Turner said.
Silver rose to a two-month high of $21.76 an ounce earlier in the session and was later trading up 0.5 percent to $21.44, still on track for its fifth straight session of gains for the first time since January.
The gold/silver ratio stood at its lowest since late May at around 61.50, down sharply from a three-year high of 67 at the end of July.
Platinum edged up 0.5 percent to $1,501 an ounce, having reached a two-month peak of $1,511.75 in the previous session. Palladium fell 0.5 percent to $736.22 an ounce.
(Additional reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi in Singapore; editing by Keiron Henderson)