Gold drifts lower as dollar climbs on European uncertainty

Gold slipped on Tuesday from a near three-month peak, pressured by a strong dollar as the euro fell on nervousness ahead of the French elections and weak German industry data.

Spot gold was down 0.4 percent at $1,230.40 per ounce at 1100 GMT.

In the previous session, the metal touched $1,235.73, its highest since Nov. 11.

U.S. gold futures dipped 0.02 percent, to $1,231.80.

While controversy over President Donald Trump’s temporary travel ban on people from seven Muslim-majority countries has boosted the dollar and gold as safe-haven assets, focus shifted to Europe on Tuesday.

“For all of the issues that are raised by Trump, we have to remember it’s a two-sided story for the dollar and what’s happening in Europe is just as important,” said Tom Kendall, head of precious metals strategy at ICBC Standard Bank. “Today the figures were very disappointing in German manufacturing.”

Weaker output in manufacturing and construction drove the biggest monthly drop in German industrial production in nearly eight years in December, dashing prospects for robust growth in the final quarter of 2016.

The euro was set for its biggest daily fall of 2017 against a broadly stronger U.S. dollar as investors feared far-right, eurosceptic candidate Marine Le Pen was gaining momentum before France’s presidential election. The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, was up 0.73 percent at 100.64. Kendall was cautious about a potential reversal in gold, which has gained nearly 10 percent since mid-December.

“When the Trump tweets turn away from immigration and towards domestic policies designed to stimulate U.S. growth, then…I would expect at that point this gold rally to unwind.” The prospects of further U.S. interest rate hikes was also a concern for gold, said Mark To, head of research at Hong Kong’s Wing Fung Financial Group. “This should drive caution for the gold bulls since with prices rising to the $1,230 range recently, maybe more people are looking forward to the $1,250 range, and there could be some kind of reversal or correction any time soon.”

Among other precious metals, silver fell 0.7 percent to $17.61. Earlier in the session, it reached $17.76, its strongest since Nov. 11. Platinum shed 0.8 percent to $1,003.51, after hitting its highest since Nov. 9 at $1,015.20 earlier in the day. Palladium dropped 1.4 percent to $761.


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