Gold in tight range as markets await Fed signals

* May retail sales data due at 1230 GMT

* Fed to announce QE taper in Aug or Sept -poll

* Platinum down nearly 1% (Recasts, adds chart, and updates prices)

June 15 (Reuters) – Gold prices held in a tight range on Tuesday ahead of a U.S. Federal Reserve meeting that could provide an indication on the eventual withdrawal of economic support.

Spot gold was down 0.1% at $1,863.36 per ounce by 0901 GMT, after falling to its lowest since May 17 at $1,843.99 on Monday.

U.S. gold futures were flat at $1,865.70 per ounce.



“Investors are being cautious … with very little appetite at the moment to drive gold in one direction or the other,” said CMC Markets UK’s chief market analyst Michael Hewson.

For the second time in less than a decade, the Fed is getting ready to launch a thorny debate over how and when to sunset a massive asset-purchase program that helped cushion an economy battered by crisis.

“It’s just not necessary; that amount of stimulus, at this stage of the economic rebound, so that’s why we’re seeing a little bit of weakness in gold prices over the past two to three days. The picture will become a lot clearer tomorrow,” CMC’s Hewson added.

Nearly 60% of economists in a Reuters poll said a much-anticipated taper announcement will come in the next quarter.

Also on the radar was a slew of data from the United States, including the monthly retail sales data which may provide more clues on economic recovery.

“There will be some focus on the Producer Price Index (PPI) for May… PPI often serves as a leading indicator for inflation and could provide clues on whether to expect further inflationary pressures down the road,” Lukman Otunuga, analyst at FXTM said in a note.

Capping gold’s declines, the dollar index weakened 0.1%, potentially increasing bullion’s appeal for those holding other currencies.

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Elsewhere, silver dropped 0.7% to $27.63 per ounce, palladium rose 0.1% to $2,753.11, while platinum slipped 0.9% to $1,154.69. (Reporting by Arundhati Sarkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Alexander Smith)