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Gold rises on lingering growth risks as spotlight turns to ECB

By Brijesh Patel
FILE PHOTO: An employee shows gold bullions at Degussa shop in Singapore

By Brijesh Patel

(Reuters) - Gold rose on Thursday ahead of a European Central Bank meeting, supported by lingering concerns around global growth, while an uptick in financial markets driven by hopes of a thaw in U.S.-China trade tensions kept the metal's gains in check.

Spot gold was up 0.4% at $1,503.04 per ounce as of 1108 GMT. U.S. gold futures rose 0.5% to $1,510.06.

"We have the ECB meeting coming up and there are growing concerns they may not be able to deliver what the market is looking for in terms of economic boost; in that case it will provide a bid to gold," Saxo Bank commodity strategist Ole Hansen said.

"The underlying demand continues to remain strong for gold, there is a sense in the market that traders don't want to miss out on any renewed rally. It does indicate that the buyers have been waiting and they're worried about not catching the bus when it leaves the station."

Investors are looking to the ECB meeting to see how far policymakers will go to support a flagging economy, given the risks posed by Britain's planned exit from the European Union.

The ECB is set to announce its rate decision at 1145 GMT, followed by a news conference by the central bank's President Mario Draghi at 1230 GMT.

Markets are also awaiting consumer price index (CPI) data from the United States for August, which is expected to accelerate by merely 0.1%, compared with 0.3% in July, according to a Reuters poll, and reinforce expectations of an interest rate cut from the U.S. Federal Reserve at its meeting next week.

Meanwhile, the United States on Wednesday agreed to delay increasing tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese imports until Oct. 15, from Oct. 1 "as a gesture of goodwill".

Positive signs on the trade front lifted risk sentiment, with world stocks advancing to their highest in six weeks.

"The risk-on tone on the back of positive trade news has done little to dent interest in gold," MKS PAMP said in a note.

"However, the metal still trades sub-$1,500 as ETF outflows look to have dried up for the time being following recent declines to holdings."

Holdings of the SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund (ETF), have fallen nearly 2% so far this month.

Elsewhere, silver gained 0.6% to $18.19 per ounce, and platinum rose 1% to $953.85.

Palladium was up 1.5% at $1,595.05 after hitting a two-month high of $1,600.32 earlier in the session.

(Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; Editing by Alexander Smith and Susan Fenton)