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Investing.com -- Gold prices fell slightly on Wednesday after stronger-than-expected U.S. data ate into the support for haven assets from the latest twists in U.S.-China relations.

By 11:05 AM ET (1605 GMT), gold futures for delivery on the Comex exchange were at $1,468.55 a troy ounce, down 0.4% from late Tuesday and well off an intra-day high of $1,479.15.

Spot gold fell 0.3% to $1,468.44 an ounce.

The $1,470 level held until U.S. government data showed a smaller-than-expected build in oil inventories last week, which attenuated fears about a further slowdown in the economy. That implied sustained strong demand for energy in the U.S. and accordingly supported risk assets and depressed havens.

Beijing reacted angrily on Tuesday to the Senate’s voting through of a bill that would tie U.S. trade policy to China to the latter’s respect for the treaty granting autonomy to Hong Kong. The bill was held back by the Republican-dominated Senate, which feared further complicating trade negotiations with China, given the need for a trade deal to brighten the economic outlook as the U.S. heads into election year.

Even so, trading remained trapped in narrow ranges, with little sign of movement from the Federal Reserve on the horizon, and less than two days before Christine Lagarde gives her first keynote speech as president of the European Central Bank.

Lagarde has supported the negative interest rate policy pioneered by her predecessor Mario Draghi in the past, but is facing concerted pushback from various quarters, including Europe’s powerful bank lobby and from a significant German-led minority of her central bank colleagues.

And while debate still swirls around whether negative rates are tolerable for Europe’s banks, there’s increasing evidence that they haven’t had the desired effect in stimulating consumer spending, some say.

“European consumers decided increase savings during the past year, at a pace not seen since the financial crisis, as uncertainty rose and the mood soured,” Oxford Economics analyst Angel Talavera said via Twitter.

Elsewhere, silver futures fell 0.4% to $17.12 an ounce while platinum futures rose 0.6% to $917.40.

U.S. government bond yields edged lower along the yield curve, with 10-Year and 30-Year yields falling the most.

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