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Gold rises as weak U.S. data dampens rate hike expectations
May 15, 2017 / 3:44 AM / 6 months ago

Gold rises as weak U.S. data dampens rate hike expectations

REUTERS - Gold rose as U.S. political turmoil, a missile test by North Korea and a worldwide cyber attack fuelled demand for safe-haven assets, while weaker than expected U.S. data pushed the dollar lower, making gold cheaper for holders of other currencies.

FILE PHOTO - Gold bullion is displayed at Hatton Garden Metals precious metal dealers in London, Britain July 21, 2015. REUTERS/Neil Hall/File Photo

Spot gold was up 0.4 percent at $1,233.69 an ounce at 1348 GMT on Monday, on track for a third day of gains after hitting an eight-week low of $1,213.81 last week. U.S. gold futures gained 0.5 percent to $1,233.60.

“Continued unpredictability of the Trump administration, North Korea flexing its muscles again and weaker data coming from the U.S. has helped bring back some interest,” said Ole Hansen, head of commodities strategy at Saxo Bank.

Worse than expected U.S. data has reduced expectations of aggressive interest rate increases by the U.S. Federal Reserve this year, though traders still expect a rise in June.

Higher interest rates tend to boost the dollar and push bond yields up, putting pressure on gold prices by increasing the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion.

U.S. bond yields fell sharply on Friday and remain at one-week lows.

“Unless there is more stronger data, more than two rate hikes are not very likely (this year),” said Argonaut Securities analyst Helen Lau.

Saxo Bank’s Hansen said that gold’s gains could end a liquidation of long positions that helped to push it to last week’s lows.

Money managers’ net longs in COMEX gold fell to the lowest in six-weeks in the week ending May 9.

Gold demand, meanwhile, has strengthened in China and India, supporting prices.

In other precious metals, silver was up 1.8 percent at $16.75 an ounce. The net long in silver fell to its smallest since February 2016 from a record high last month.

“That could indicate that most of the selling pressure in silver is now over,” Hansen said.

Platinum was up 1.9 percent at $934.44. The metal used for jewellery and emission-controlling catalytic converters in diesel vehicles has gained more than 5 percent from a 4 1/2-month low of $889.10 on May 4.

The World Platinum Investment Council said on Monday that a market deficit would shrink this year as demand falls and low prices discourage investment, while autocatalyst maker Johnson Matthey said that 2017 would bring the first surplus in six years.

Weak mine output will push platinum above $1,000 an ounce this year, Thomson Reuters GFMS said last week.

Palladium rose 0.9 percent to $813.48 an ounce.

Additional reporting by Vijaykumar Vedala in Bengaluru; Editing by David Evans and David Goodman

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