Gold Slips on Dollar Strength

May 13, 2013 at 09:35

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Gold fell more than 1 percent on Monday, holding near its weakest level in two weeks, as the dollar firmed on signs of an improving U.S. job market and as holdings in exchange-traded funds slipped again.

Bullion’s safe-haven appeal has been dimmed by speculation the Federal Reserve could scale back its aggressive monetary stimulus after recent U.S. labour market data pointed to a steady recovery trend in the world’s largest economy.

Gold has fallen more than 14 percent this year as investors switch funds into a rallying equity market and the greenback.

“So far, nothing in the market bodes well for an upside in gold. Gold needs to break above $1,487 to show an upward correction,” said Joyce Liu, an investment analyst at Phillip Futures in Singapore.

“CFTC data shows an increase in bearish bets in gold, so that sends another bearish signal to retail speculators, who have no idea what the funds’ view on gold is. There’s probably some technical selling because we’ve broken below $1,440.”

Hedge funds and money managers trimmed their bullish bets in gold futures and options in the week to May 7 on weaker bullion prices and outflows in gold exchange-traded funds, a report by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) showed on Friday.

SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund (ETF), said its holdings fell 0.24 percent to 1051.65 tonnes on Friday after rising slightly on Thursday. The holdings were within sight of a four-year low.

U.S. gold for June delivery was at $1,434.60 an ounce, down $2.00. Gold shrugged off Chinese data which showed output growth quickened in April, but still missed market expectations.

“Gold is under pressure from the strong dollar and outflows from ETFs,” said a dealer in Hong Kong. “Gold will be trending for a while at $1,400 or above, but we think it could go down to $1,380.”

Cash and U.S. gold futures plunged to around $1,321 on April 16, their lowest in over two years, after worries about central bank sales and a drop below $1,500 led to a sell-off that stunned investors, prompting them to slash ETF holdings

Oil fell on Monday as the dollar strengthened, weighing on Asian shares, but Japanese equities outperformed on the back of the yen’s slide to a fresh 4-1/2-year low against the U.S. currency.

Bullion hit an 11-month high in October last year after the Fed announced its third round of aggressive economic stimulus, raising fears the central bank’s money-printing to buy assets would stoke inflation.

Silver, platinum and palladium tracked gold lower.

Palladium prices hit their highest versus platinum in a decade this year as prospects for a growing deficit attracted buying, but an overhang of above-ground stocks is stopping its appealing fundamentals from fully feeding into prices.