July 19, 2018 / 10:09 AM / 3 months ago

PRECIOUS-Gold slips to 1-year low as U.S. dollar firms

    * Dollar holds firm after Fed Chairman's testimonies
    * Palladium touches near one-year low
    * GRAPHIC-2018 asset returns: tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl

 (Updates prices)
    By Zandi Shabalala
    LONDON, July 19 (Reuters) - Gold sank to a one-year low on
Thursday as the dollar powered higher after comments from U.S.
Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell which reaffirmed
expectations for more interest rate rises in the world's largest
economy.
    Powell, in a closely watched two-day congressional
testimony, said he believed the United States was on course for
years more of steady growth, and carefully played down the risks
to the U.S. economy of an escalating trade conflict.
            
    The Fed raised rates in June and policymakers indicated they
expect two more rate increases this year. Powell said nothing in
his testimony this week to undermine that, and said the economy
was poised for several more years of growth.
    Gold is highly exposed to interest rates, particularly in
the United States, as higher rates lift the opportunity cost of
holding non-yielding assets and boost the dollar, in which gold
is priced.
    Spot gold        fell 0.7 percent to $1,217.95 per ounce by
1422 GMT, having earlier touched its lowest since July 2017 at
$1,211.08. U.S. gold futures         for August delivery were
0.9 percent lower at $1,216.56 an ounce.
    "It's a tough environment for gold," said ETF Securities
associate director Anneka Gupta, adding that growth in the U.S
economy and stronger corporate earnings undermined the metal. 
    "Gold is not being used as a safe haven right now despite
the ongoing trade war, and the stronger dollar is dominating the
story amidst the rate-rising environment."
    Gold is generally regarded as a safe and stable store of
value during times of global uncertainty. 
    The dollar rose to a one-year high against a basket of six
major currencies       , supported by bullish comments from
Powell, which affirmed expectations for more interest rate
increases this year.       
    "Gold should find first support at yesterday's low of
$1,221, with the psychological $1,200 level to follow.
Resistance (is) at $1,229, with this week's high of $1,245 above
that," MKS PAMP Group said in a note.
    U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday the United
States may hammer out a trade deal with Mexico, and then do a
separate one with Canada later, sowing fresh doubts about the
future of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
            
    Among other precious metals, silver        was down 1.6
percent at $15.27 an ounce, its lowest since last July.
    Platinum        was 2.2 percent lower at $795 an ounce, its
lowest since 2008. Palladium        fell 1.6 percent to $893 per
ounce, having slipped to its lowest since August 2017 at
$888.65.

 (Reporting by Zandi Shabalala in London and Karen Rodrigues in
Bengaluru; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle, Jan Harvey and Kirsten
Donovan)
  
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