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Gold price stuck in neutral as U.S. retail sales rise 3.8% in January

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(Kitco News) - The gold market is holding support above $1,850 an ounce and trading in neutral territory as U.S. consumers spent more than expected at the start of the new year.

U.S. retail sales jumped 3.8% last month, up sharply from December's 1.9% increase according to the latest data from the U.S. Commerce Department, released Wednesday; the data significantly beat expectations as economists were forecasting an increase of around 2.1%.

Meanwhile, core retail sales increased 3.3% in January, up from December's revised 2.5% drop. Economists were expecting to see a 1.0% increase.

For the year headline retail sales numbers are up 13%, the report said.

The control group, which excludes autos, gas, building materials, and food services and feeds directly into GDP calculations, rose 4.8% last month. Economists were expecting to see a 1.0% rise.

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The gold market is seeing reaction to the latest consumption data. Spot gold prices last traded at $1,854.50, roughly unchanged on the day.

Gold price see little movement, holding above $1,850 an ounce as U.S. retail sales jump 3.8% in January. April gold last traded at $1,857.30 an ounce, up 0.06% on the day.

Katherine Judge, senior economist at CIBC, said that although consumption is up, inflation is still taking its toll on purchasing power.

"Higher prices during the month mean that the gains won't look as impressive in volume terms," she said.

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