December 21, 2017 / 1:25 AM / a year ago

Gold holds steady as U.S. data leaves dollar stable

LONDON (Reuters) - Gold held near an earlier two-week high on Thursday after U.S. data on domestic gross domestic product, jobless claims and regional business activity did not alter traders’ views on a stable economy, leaving the dollar broadly steady.

An employee sorts gold bars in the Austrian Gold and Silver Separating Plant 'Oegussa' in Vienna, Austria, December 15, 2017. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger/Files

Spot gold was at $1,265.02 an ounce as of 1520 GMT, little changed from late on Wednesday, after hitting its highest since Dec. 6 at $1,268.26 in earlier trade. U.S. gold futures were $1.80 an ounce at $1,267.80.

World markets gave a muted reception on Thursday to the passage of U.S. tax cuts approved the previous day, while bonds steadied having been spooked by the expected blowout in government debt needed to fund the giveaways.

“We’ve seen a ‘sell the fact’ fall-back in the dollar and equities since the passing of the tax reform legislation, which has helped give some support to gold,” Mitsubishi analyst Jonathan Butler said. “But gold has failed to break out above $1,270, suggesting market participants may be cautious about taking big positions as we approach the year-end.”

“The crucial test will come if the rally in U.S. Treasury yields continues as investors anticipate more interest rate rises next year,” it said. “If it does this could put pressure on gold as a non-yielding asset.”

U.S. Treasury yields hit their highest in nine months on Wednesday on optimism the U.S. tax overhaul would help boost growth and as economic data improves. Rising bond yields tend to lift the dollar and depress the appeal of non-yielding bullion.

Yields held at lower levels early Thursday, however, after the GDP and jobless data.

From a technical perspective, gold is seeing a strong recovery from its 200-week moving average at $1,232, Commerzbank said in a weekly note. It neared that level earlier this month after the Federal Reserve lifted interest rates.

“The rally has reached the 23.6 percent retracement at $1,265 and this is looking exposed,” it said. “Above here will allow for a move to the $1,282 three-month resistance line, with a close above here necessary to restore upside pressure, (which is) favoured.”

Among other precious metals, silver was down 0.2 percent at $16.14 an ounce, having climbed to a two-week peak of $16.26 in the previous session.

Platinum was 0.1 percent lower at $917.40 an ounce, after reaching its highest since Dec. 5 in the previous session. Palladium was up 0.7 percent to $1,032.24.

Palladium is this year’s biggest climber among major precious metals, rising by more than 50 percent since the close of 2016.

Italopreziosi’s Filippo Finocchi, the leading forecaster from Reuters’ January 2017 palladium price poll, told the Reuters Global Gold Forum on Thursday that growing gasoline and hybrid vehicle sales should boost prices again next year.

Additional reporting by Apeksha Nair in Bengaluru; editing by David Evans, Greg Mahlich

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