* U.S. retail sales down 1.9% in December
* Gold set to gain for the week
By Kavya Guduru
Jan 14 (Reuters) – Gold prices slipped on Friday, weighed down by an uptick in Treasury yields on prospects of U.S. interest rate hikes and a stronger dollar.
Spot gold was down 0.3% at $1,816.22 per ounce by 13:56 ET (1856 GMT). U.S. gold futures settled down 0.3% at $1,816.50.
Benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury yields firmed, while the dollar rose 0.4% against its rivals, making bullion costlier for overseas buyers.
Gold gained briefly after the release of data showing retail sales tumbled by 1.9% in December as Americans struggled with shortages of goods due to supply chain bottlenecks and an explosion of COVID-19 infections.
Gold is acting as a placeholder in people’s portfolios “until the dust settles” in terms of where the economy is going, said Philip Streible, chief market strategist at Blue Line Futures in Chicago.
The weak data this week could eventually either cause a sell-off in wider markets or prompt the Federal Reserve to curb rate hike expectations, and gold gets a tailwind either way, Streible added.
However, overall declines in the dollar this week put bullion on track for a weekly gain of about 1.1%.
Gold is considered a hedge against surging inflation, but interest rate hikes translate into higher opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion.
“Considering that markets will ultimately remain intensely focused on the Fed’s exit, fewer sources of upside flow in the coming weeks could leave gold prices vulnerable to a consolidation”, TD Securities said in a note.
Spot silver fell 0.9% to $22.86 an ounce, and was en route to post a 2.5% weekly gain.
Platinum was down 0.2% to $967.32 and was set to gain about 1.2% this week, while palladium fell 0.3% to $1,882.12 and poised for a weekly drop of nearly 2.7%. (Reporting by Kavya Guduru in Bengaluru Editing by Shailesh Kuber and Mark Potter)