March 1, 2019 / 11:51 AM / 9 months ago

PRECIOUS-Gold on course for worst week since November as dollar rises

(Updates prices)

* Gold down 1.6 percent so far this week

* SPDR gold holdings fall to lowest since December

* Dollar hits 10-week high vs yen

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

By Swati Verma

March 1 (Reuters) - Gold slipped to two-week lows and was set for its biggest weekly fall in nearly four months on Friday, pressured by a reviving dollar and as equity markets bounced back.

Spot gold is down about 1.6 percent so far this week, which could be its biggest weekly decline since the week ending Nov. 9. It was down 0.4 percent at $1,307.01 an ounce at 1320 GMT, having touched its lowest since Feb. 14 at $1,305.43.

U.S. gold futures shed 0.6 percent to $1,308.40.

“The news on jobs and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was more favourable for the dollar, which has been gaining value. Because of that we are continuing to see some long liquidations,” Afshin Nabavi, senior vice president at MKS SA, said.

“We have breached $1,315 and $1,310, which are very important support levels. Won’t be surprised even if we see a test of $1,300 later today.”

The dollar, which gained impetus from better than expected fourth quarter U.S. GDP data, hit a 10-week high against the yen.

“Rallies in the dollar are taking their toll on gold much more than they were a few weeks ago which is a clear sign that sentiment towards the yellow metal has shifted,” OANDA senior market analyst Craig Erlam wrote in a note.

“The next test below is $1,300, a break of which could be the catalyst for another bearish move, at which point $1,275-1,280 becomes notable support.”

Gold rose to a 10-month peak last week, helped by expectations that the U.S. central bank will pause interest rate increases and hopes of a U.S.-China trade deal, but has declined about 3 percent since.

“After it (gold) failed last week to rise above $1,350, the gold price is nearing the psychologically important $1,300 per troy ounce mark again today,” Commerzbank analysts said.

“Better sentiment on the stock markets and a reluctance by the physical gold investors are weighing on its price.”

Holdings of the SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, on Thursday fell 0.52 percent to 784.22 tonnes, their lowest level since late December.

Elsewhere, palladium was steady at $1,542.96 an ounce. The metal had hit an all-time peak of $1,565.09 earlier this week and is headed for a fourth consecutive week of gains.

Silver fell 0.6 percent to $15.51, having earlier hit $15.46, a low last seen on Feb. 14.

Platinum fell 0.8 percent to $863.43. The metal is on track for a third straight weekly gain. (Reporting by Swati Verma, Sethuraman N R and Arijit Bose in Bengaluru; Editing by Alexander Smith and Louise Heavens)

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