Stronger dollar traps gold near five-week lows

(Representative Image) Photograph:( Reuters )

Reuters London, UK Apr 26, 2018, 08.08 PM (IST)

Gold prices hovered near five-week lows on Thursday as higher US bond yields and a stronger dollar dampened interest in bullion.

Worries about growing supply of U.S. government debt and inflationary pressures from rising oil prices this week pushed U.S. 10-year bond yields above 3 percent for the first time in four years.

That has reduced the attraction of non-yielding gold and helped to thrust the dollar to its strongest since January, making bullion more expensive for users of other currencies.

Spot gold was up 0.1 percent at $1,324.12 an ounce by 1310 GMT. On Wednesday gold touched its lowest since March 21 at $1,318.51.

U.S. gold futures were up 0.2 percent at $1,325.10.

Interest from physical buyers and technical support at gold's 100-day moving average of $1,319.55 was helping to prevent further falls.

"At these low (price) levels, the market could now attract some physical buying interest," said Peter Fung, head of dealing at Wing Fung Precious Metals in Hong Kong.

"The market has a very good (physical) support at around $1,310-$1,315."

Gold has been stuck in a trading range between about $1,360 and $1,310 since hitting a 1-1/2 year high of $1,366.07 in January.

It is supported by geopolitical uncertainty, which has fuelled demand for gold as a safe haven, but prevented from moving higher by fears of rising U.S. interest rates that would push up bond yields and strengthen the dollar.

U.S. GDP and inflation data on Friday could give new direction to prices, said Mitsubishi analyst Jonathan Butler.

Stronger than expected economic growth or inflation would hurt gold by bolstering expectations of more rapid increases to interest rates.

Investors were also watching the European Central Bank on Thursday for clues on when it will signal an end-date for its 2.55 trillion euro ($3.2 trillion) asset-buying programme.

Analysts and traders polled by Reuters this month said that gold would average $1,334 an ounce this year and $1,352 an ounce next year, barely shifting from its current price.

They expected silver, which was up 0.2 percent at $16.55 an ounce on Thursday, to fare better, averaging $17.28 an ounce this year and $18 next year.

In other precious metals, platinum was up 0.3 percent at $906.30 and palladium slipped 0.3 percent to $973.97.

Analysts and traders polled by Reuters expected average prices of both metals to be higher this year and next.