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PRECIOUS-Gold holds steady as lower yields counter robust U.S. data

* U.S. jobless claims drop, economic growth accelerates in Q1

* Gold flows into China via Hong Kong, Switzerland jump in April

* Palladium deficit seen widening in 2021- Nornickel (Updates prices)

May 27 (Reuters) - Gold prices steadied below the key $1,900 an ounce level on Thursday as easing U.S. Treasury yields offset upbeat U.S. data that showed a recovery in the world’s largest economy was on track.

Spot gold was little changed at $1,896.76 per ounce by 1:53 p.m. EDT (1753 GMT). U.S. gold futures settled down 0.3% at $1,898.5.

“The U.S. economy is on a solid trajectory for growth and the inflation argument has ebbed a bit because the Federal Reserve has had some success in convincing the marketplace that it is indeed just going to be transitory,” said Kitco Metals senior analyst Jim Wyckoff.

“So it’s just a pause from the recent uptrends. However, we shouldn’t be surprised to see some bargain hunters step in to buy the dip in prices later in the session.”

Data showed U.S. new jobless claims dropped more than expected, while economic growth accelerated in the first quarter.

Benchmark U.S. Treasury yields edged lower, translating into reduced opportunity cost of holding non-yielding gold.

Investors await the monthly U.S. personal consumption report on Friday.

“We don’t have as many people coming in to buy gold right now because it has run for two months straight, statistically it is overbought,” said Michael Matousek, head trader at U.S. Global Investors.

“But if inflation keeps rearing its head, gold is going to be overbought even more, cause people are going to start jumping in saying they need to own it.”

On the physical front, gold imports into top consumer China from Hong Kong and Switzerland surged in April.

Palladium rose 2.3% to $2,806.67 per ounce, while silver gained 0.5% to $27.83 and platinum fell 1%, to $1,178.86.

Top producer Nornickel said a deficit in the palladium market could widen in 2021.

Reporting by Sumita Layek in Bengaluru, additional reporting by Arpan Varghese; Editing by Nick Macfie, Alexandra Hudson

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