(Reuters) - Gold prices were on course for their first annual fall in three years on Monday, having largely been outgunned by the U.S. dollar as a refuge from global geopolitical and trade tensions, while palladium notched up a third year of gains propelled by robust investor demand coupled with a sustained deficit.
Spot gold XAU= traded at $1,279.41 per ounce late on Monday, on track to end 2018 down nearly 1.8 percent, while the most-active gold futures contract GCcv1 settled 2018 down 4.2 percent at $1,281.30 an ounce.
In contrast, spot palladium XPD= is set to gain nearly 19 percent this year, as a global deficit pushed prices of the autocatalyst metal above those of bullion in brief spurts for the first time in 16 years, out-performing other major precious metals.
U.S. palladium futures PAcv1 ended 2018 up 18.3 percent at $1,197.20 an ounce, its third straight year of gains.
Meanwhile, sister metal platinum, was expected to finish the year down 14 percent XPT=.
Platinum, more heavily used in the diesel vehicles that have fallen out of favour since the Volkswagen emissions-rigging scandal broke in 2015, fell below palladium for the fist time last year.
Tracking gold’s trajectory was spot silver XAG=, set to fall 9 percent in 2018.
COMEX silver futures SIcv1 were down 12 percent at $15.54 an ounce in 2018, the biggest yearly decline since 2014.
Reporting by Swati Verma in Bengaluru; Editing by Alistair Bell