PRECIOUS-Gold drops, notches biggest weekly loss since June
* Gold posts more than 5 pct weekly loss
* US retail sales, consumer confidence point to weakness
* Market turns attention to next week's FOMC
* Coming up: U.S. New York State manufacturing index
(Adds trader comment, second byline, dateline, updates market activity) NEW YORK/LONDON, Sept 13 (Reuters) - Gold fell on Friday as a combination of poor technical momentum, easing tensions with Syria and expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve will unwind its monetary stimulus led to the metal's largest weekly loss since late June. Bullion tumbled for a second consecutive day to hit its lowest level in more than a month, near $1,300 an ounce. On Friday, Russia and the United States agreed to a new push to negotiate an end to Syria's civil war as they discussed a plan to destroy President Bashar al-Assad's chemical weapons in order to avert U.S. air strikes. In late August, gold surged to a three-month high above $1,430 on concerns Western powers led by the United States would launch military strikes on Syria. Since then, the metal's price has lost almost 10 percent. "As tensions with Syria cool down, the risk premium that had quickly pushed the gold market sharply higher is now being taken off very quickly," said Sean McGillivray, head of asset allocation at Great Pacific Wealth Management. Spot gold hit its lowest point since Aug. 8 at $1,304.56, and was last down 0.2 percent at $1,317.86 an ounce Bullion lost 5.2 percent this week for its biggest weekly loss since the week of June 21. U.S. gold futures for December settled down $22 at $1,308.60 an ounce. Despite active selling in the last two sessions, volume was again in line with its 30-day average, preliminary Reuters data showed. On Thursday, gold fell 3.5 percent after a sudden price tumble in the futures market shattered investor confidence. The metal has now fallen further below its 100- and 50-day moving averages.
US DATA POINTS TO WEAKNESS For the second day in a row, heavy selling in precious metals came as outside markets including U.S. equities and the U.S. currency barely responded to economic indicators. U.S. data showed consumer confidence ebbed early this month and retail sales advanced just slightly in August, the latest indications of a lack of momentum in the economy. Another report on Friday showed an energy-led rise in wholesale prices last month but subdued inflation pressure. Now traders turn their attention the Federal Open Market Committee which is expected to release a policy statement at the end of its two-day meeting next Wednesday. Consensus is building among analysts that the FOMC could announce a plan to begin slashing its $85 billion monthly bond purchase program. "If the Fed defers the decision on tapering we could well see gold take back some of the ground that has lost in the last few days," Mitsubishi analyst Jonathan Butler said. Among other precious metals, silver climbed 1.2 percent to $22.01. It lost 7.5 percent this week, its biggest weekly loss since late June. Platinum rose 1.2 percent to $1,445.49 an ounce, while palladium also gained 1.2 percent to $697.47 an ounce.
3:17 PM EDT LAST/ NET PCT LOW HIGH CURRENT SETTLE CHNG CHNG VOL US Gold DEC 1308.60 -22.00 -1.7 1304.60 1330.80 155,450 US Silver DEC 21.720 -0.429 -1.9 21.420 22.185 44,594 US Plat OCT 1444.50 1.80 0.1 1426.00 1451.90 12,127 US Pall DEC 699.10 6.30 0.9 687.40 701.75 3,730 Gold 1317.86 -2.33 -0.2 1305.33 1330.56 Silver 22.010 0.270 1.2 21.410 22.140 Platinum 1445.49 17.79 1.2 1428.00 1449.00 Palladium 697.47 7.97 1.2 689.25 698.50 TOTAL MARKET VOLUME 30-D ATM VOLATILITY CURRENT 30D AVG 250D AVG CURRENT CHG US Gold 164,820 155,349 181,053 24.4 -0.08 US Silver 46,632 67,522 57,894 36.32 2.58 US Platinum 14,424 10,532 12,288 19.96 0.00 US Palladium 3,767 6,767 5,848
(Additional reporting by Lewa Pardomuan in Singapore; editing