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PRECIOUS-Gold holds near 3-1/2 month high as growth worries persist

SINGAPORE, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Gold eased a touch in early trade on Wednesday but remained near the highest level in more than three months as lingering worries about global economic growth burnished its safe haven appeal.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Gold eased 0.06 percent to $1,320.20 an ounce by 0012 GMT. It touched $1,332.10 an ounce on Tuesday, the strongest since Oct. 31, before shedding some of the gains as investors booked profits from a three-day rally.

* U.S. gold futures slipped 0.28 percent to $1,320.70 an ounce.

* Economic data points to continued struggles around the globe, with German investor sentiment weaker and factory activity in New York state slowing in February.

* Holdings of the largest gold-backed exchange-traded-fund (ETF), New York's SPDR Gold Trust fell 0.63 percent on Friday from Thursday, and the largest silver-backed exchange-traded-fund (ETF), New York's iShares Silver Trust decreased 0.59 percent during the same period.

* Net gold demand fell 15 percent in 2013 as huge outflows from physically backed investment funds outweighed record consumer demand but that disinvestment is tailing off this year, the World Gold Council said on Tuesday.

* Gold demand in India is expected to be robust in 2014 and likely to encourage an increase in smuggling if curbs on bullion imports remain, the World Gold Council said.

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MARKET NEWS

* Asian share markets looked set for a cautious session on Wednesday as investors keep a wary eye on interest rates in China, though the euro left the dollar in its dust after more soft U.S. economic data.

* The euro was holding broad-based gains on Wednesday, having darted higher against the yen and sterling, while the dollar took a hit from soft economic data and news that foreign investors had been heavy sellers of U.S. assets.

DATA/EVENTS (GMT) 1330 U.S. Building permits 1330 U.S. Housing starts 1330 U.S. Producer prices

Precious metals prices 0012 GMT

Metal Last Change Pct chg YTD pct chg Volume Spot Gold 1320.20 -0.79 -0.06 9.57 Spot Silver 21.84 -0.04 -0.18 12.52 Spot Platinum 1418.00 -1.75 -0.12 3.69 Spot Palladium 736.47 2.97 +0.40 3.29 COMEX GOLD APR4 1320.70 -3.70 -0.28 9.89 1516 COMEX SILVER MAR4 21.85 -0.05 +0.00 12.80 1034 Euro/Dollar 1.3763 Dollar/Yen 102.25

COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months

(Reporting by Lewa Pardomuan; Editing by Ed Davies)