×

PRECIOUS-Gold rally falters ahead of U.S. growth data

* Gold up 0.3 pct for week so far

* U.S. GDP data due at 1230 GMT

* Technical resistance seen at $1,261

(Updates throughout, previous dateline Bengaluru) LONDON, July 28 (Reuters) - Gold held near six-week highs on Friday though its recent rally appeared to falter as investors awaited U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) data for more clues about the pace of U.S. monetary policy tightening. Stronger than expected growth would leave the U.S. Federal Reserve on track to raise rates, pushing up bond yields and making non-yielding gold less attractive. It would also bolster the dollar, making bullion more expensive for holders of other currencies.

Spot gold was flat at $1,258.76 an ounce at 1018 GMT

after touching $1,264.99, the highest since June 15, on Thursday. It was on track to rise for a third week in a row.

U.S. gold futures for August delivery were 0.1

percent lower at $1,258.20 an ounce. The dollar was slightly weaker and U.S. bond yields slightly higher. The biggest risk to gold prices was a stronger dollar, said Julius Baer analyst Carsten Menke. Gold has risen by about $55 since early July thanks to dollar weakness and short-covering, he said, but "the rally was on a rather weak footing because at the same time you had the physical market selling". He said the U.S. data would have to be very disappointing to push gold significantly higher and he expected prices to fall to $1,200. Economists expected U.S. GDP to have increased at a 2.6 percent annual rate in April-June, but positive economic data released on Thursday prompted some to raise their forecasts.

On the technical side, fibonacci resistance was firm at $1,261.30 and support at $1,250.50, analysts at ScotiaMocatta said in a note. MKS PAMP trader Tim Brown said: "Gold looks well supported ahead of the 100-day moving average at $1,249, and a consolidation above $1,260 could support a move higher." Chinese data on Friday showed consumption of gold in the country rose by 10 percent in the first half of the year while production fell, leading to higher imports. However, the global market had a surplus of 138 tonnes in the first half, GFMS analysts at Thomson Reuters said this week.

In other precious metals, silver was up 0.2 percent

at $16.56 an ounce, on track for a third weekly gain.

Platinum was 0.2 percent lower at $921 an ounce and set for its first weekly decline in three. Palladium was

up 0.5 percent at $876.90 after touching a one-month high on Thursday, and has gained 3.7 percent this week.

(Additional reporting by Nithin Prasad and Arpan Varghese in Bengaluru; editing by David Clarke)