March 5, 2019 / 4:04 PM / 6 months ago

PRECIOUS-Gold dips as dollar gains on robust U.S. data

(Updates prices, paragraphs 2, 13-14)

* Silver at lowest since Dec. 27

* Goldman Sachs lifts 12-month gold price forecast

* GRAPHIC-2019 asset returns: tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl

By Karthika Suresh Namboothiri

March 5 (Reuters) - Gold prices slipped on Tuesday to their lowest in more than five weeks as the dollar rose on stronger than expected economic data and rising U.S. Treasury yields. Global equities held near five-month highs.

Spot gold was down 0.1 percent at $1,285.57 per ounce at 2:07 p.m. EST (1907 GMT). U.S. gold futures settled down 0.2 percent to $1,284.7 per ounce.

“With the U.S.-China trade agreement looking like it will happen and the softening of Brexit negotiations seeming to be developing into a positive thing, people are getting out of metals and converting it to equities,” said Walter Pehowich, executive vice president of investment services at Dillon Gage Metals.

“If there is a (trade) agreement, there is a lot more room on the upside for equities and then the bull run in gold is over.”

On Friday, gold dropped below $1,300 an ounce, hurt by a robust dollar. Gold has shed over 2 percent this month as trade talks between Beijing and Washington accelerated, with reports saying a deal could be sealed at a summit around March 27.

Global stock markets were at five-month highs following China’s assurance of stimulus measures after lowering its growth targets.

“As long as world stock markets remain in near-term price uptrends, it will be difficult for gold and silver markets to sustain rallies,” said Jim Wyckoff, senior analyst at Kitco Metals in a note.

The U.S. dollar stood close to a two-week peak against peers, supported by strong data on new home sales and services industries, which eased worries about a deceleration in U.S. economic growth.

“(U.S. new home sales) data continues to show robust growth ... which should strengthen the dollar index and cause investors to start going for other asset classes that provide greater return,” said Phil Streible, senior commodities strategist at RJO Futures in Chicago.

Gold prices dropped to $1,280.70 soon after the data, its lowest level since Jan. 25.

Meanwhile, investment bank Goldman Sachs raised its 12 month gold price forecast to $1,450 per troy ounce from $1,425.

Markets will now look ahead to the European Central Bank’s monetary policy meeting on Thursday and U.S. non-farm payrolls data on Friday.

Silver was up 0.3 percent at $15.12 per ounce. Earlier in the session it fell as low as $15.01, its lowest since Dec. 27.

Spot palladium declined 1.3 percent to $1,513.88 per ounce, while platinum was up 0.2 percent at $836.35. (Reporting by Karthika Suresh Namboothiri and Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru; Editing by Susan Thomas and Grant McCool)

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