Feb 15 (Reuters) – Gold prices firmed on Friday as the dollar weakened slightly after disappointing U.S. data indicated slowing economic momentum, supporting the U.S. Federal Reserve’s “patient” monetary policy approach. FUNDAMENTALS: * Spot gold was little changed at $1,312.82 per ounce at 0009 GMT. It rose 0.5 percent in the previous session in its biggest intraday gain since Jan. 30. * U.S. gold futures were up 0.1 percent at $1,315 an ounce. * The dollar index, a gauge of its strength versus six major peers was marginally lower at 97.01. * U.S. retail sales recorded their biggest drop in more than nine years in December as receipts fell across the board, suggesting a sharp slowdown in economic activity at the end of 2018. * Further dimming investor sentiment was other data showing an unexpected increase in the number of Americans filing claims for unemployment benefits last week and a second straight monthly decline in producer prices in January. * Thursday’s data could bolster the Fed’s stance of being “patient” on potential interest rate hikes.  * Two White House negotiators in trade talks with China will meet on Friday with Chinese President Xi Jinping, but there has been no decision to extend a March 1 U.S. deadline for a deal, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Thursday. * President Donald Trump vowed on Thursday to declare a national emergency in an attempt to fund his U.S.-Mexico border wall without congressional approval, a step likely to plunge him into a court battle with Congress over constitutional powers.

* Outside the United States, British Prime Minister Theresa May suffered a defeat on her Brexit strategy on Thursday that undermined her pledge to European Union leaders to get her divorce deal approved if they grant her concessions.

* Germany’s economy stalled in the final quarter of last year, just skirting recession as fallout from global trade disputes and Brexit put the brakes on a decade of expansion amid signs that exports will stay subdued for the time being.

* Precious metal miner Sibanye-Stillwater could cut nearly 6,000 jobs in a potential restructuring of the company’s gold mining operations following losses at some of its mines last year.

* At least 23 illegal gold miners are trapped and feared dead in Zimbabwe after shafts and underground tunnels they were working in were flooded by water from a burst dam, a state-owned daily newspaper reported on Thursday.