March 28, 2018 / 9:40 AM / in 4 months

PRECIOUS-Gold falls further from near 6-week peak on dollar bounce

    * Gold pulls back from Tuesday's near six-week peak
    * Dollar recovers some lost ground; stocks under pressure
    * GRAPHIC-2018 asset returns: tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl

 (Updates prices; adds comment, second byline, NEW YORK to
dateline)
    By Renita D. Young and Jan Harvey
    NEW YORK/LONDON, March 28 (Reuters) - Gold fell more than
one percent on Wednesday as a dollar bounce on U.S. growth data
pulled prices further from the previous day's near six-week
peak, although softer equities markets kept bullion underpinned.
    The U.S. dollar rose 0.4 percent against the euro after data
showing U.S. economic growth slowed less than previously
estimated in the fourth quarter.       
    Spot gold        lost 1.4 percent at $1,325.66 per ounce by
1:34 p.m. EST (17:34 GMT), while U.S. April gold futures        
settled down $17.80, or 1.3 percent, at $1,324.20 an ounce.
    "Despite the fact that the equity markets are near a cliff,
we have not seen much interest amidst retail investors for gold
and the strength of the dollar index is also weighing on the
price," Think Markets chief market analyst Naeem Aslam said. 
    "However, given the geopolitical uncertainties we have, we
do think that the path of least resistance is skewed to the
upside." Gold is set to close the first quarter up 2 percent.
    Bullion has traded in a tight range between $1,300 and
$1,360 this year. "Yesterday’s action failed again at $1,360 and
without a recovery early in the day, some speculators are
trading the range and taking some profits," said Rob Haworth,
senior investment strategist for US Bank Wealth Management.
    Stocks softened as persistent jitters about a U.S.-China
trade war and the prospect of a regulatory crackdown on
companies such as Facebook left investors facing their first
quarterly drop in stocks in two years.            
    United States precious metals markets will be closed on
Friday for the Good Friday holiday.             
    Meanwhile, silver        lost 1.4 percent at $16.26 an
ounce, seeing a one-week low of $16.24.
    Platinum        dropped 1 percent at $934 an ounce, after
touching $930.50, its lowest since Jan. 2.
    Palladium        decreased 0.7 percent at $966 an ounce,
earlier hitting $961.65, a three-week low. The autocatalyst
metal is on track to end March down 6.6 percent, its biggest
monthly loss since December 2016.
    Nonetheless, palladium's underlying supply and demand
picture suggests prices will remain supported, UBS said in a
note, after the metal hit a record high in January. 
    "Palladium forwards remain firmly in backwardation, strong
trade inflows into Hong Kong continue to be evident, and our
factor-analysis suggests that the influence of fundamental
factors on price action has increased over the past year," it
said. 
    Backwardation is when a futures contract trades below the
asset's expected price at the contract's maturity and is often
seen as a sign of market tightness.

 (Reporting by Renita D. Young and Jan Harvey with additional
reporting by Swati Verma and Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru, editing
by Alexander Smith and Cynthia Osterman)
  
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