(Reuters) - Gold fell on Monday, moving further away from the key $1,300 mark it briefly surpassed in the last session, as equities steadied following last week’s slide, with stronger-than-expected U.S. retail sales allaying some fears of an economic slowdown.
Spot gold was down 0.4 percent at $1,293.26 per ounce at 11:35 a.m. ET (1535 GMT), while U.S. gold futures slipped 0.5 percent to $1,293.30. Spot prices hit $1,300.61 on Friday, but quickly slipped back below $1,300 an ounce.
“Retail sales were better, which means the economy isn’t necessarily slowing as quickly as some have suggested,” said Bart Melek, head of commodity strategies at TD Securities in Toronto.
U.S. retail sales rose 0.2 in January, surprising economists who expected it to remain unchanged.
The strong data could prompt a less dovish stance from the U.S. Federal Reserve, Melek added.
On Sunday, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell emphasized he would be closely monitoring how a slowing global economy affects local conditions in the United States in order to decide the future of its interest rate trajectory.
Higher interest rates reduce investor interest in non-yielding bullion.
Indicating improved appetite for riskier assets, global stocks regained some ground after its worst week in the year fuelled by a darkening economic outlook, as China promised further stimulus to cure their ailing economy. [MKTS/GLOB]
“For the most part, investors are still most interested in the equity markets and are not finding a need for any safe haven products at this time,” Walter Pehowich, executive vice president of investment services at Dillon Gage Metals said in a note.
Speculators trimmed their net long positions in COMEX gold in the week to March 5, as bullion prices fell from 10-month highs and broke below the key $1,300/ oz level.
However, the net longs are up from record low levels touched in October. [CFTC/]
Gold still has some impetus left, with concerns over the state of the global economy holding intact, analysts said.
“As we move into 2019, we should start seeing some weaker fundamentals in the U.S. as the higher interest rates over the last year start having a negative impact and as we see the fiscal stimulus from the Trump tax-cuts wear off,” TD Securities’ Melek added.
Investors are now eyeing a key Brexit vote in the British parliament on Tuesday.
Elsewhere, palladium was up 0.6 percent to $1,523.76 per ounce, while silver was down 0.2 percent at $15.28.
Platinum was down 0.5 percent at $810.91 per ounce, after touching a low since Feb. 19, at $803.50, earlier in the day.
Reporting by Arijit Bose in Bengaluru; editing by Diane Craft