July 2, 2018 / 3:59 AM / 3 months ago

Stronger dollar pushes gold back towards six-month lows

LONDON (Reuters) - Gold slipped back towards its lowest in more than six months on Monday as the currencies of key consumers weakened, making it more expensive for them to buy dollar-priced bullion.

FILE PHOTO: A worker places gold coins on display at Hatton Garden Metals precious metal dealers in London, Britain July 21, 2015. REUTERS/Neil Hall/File Photo

Fears of a trade war between the United States and China have helped to push China’s renminbi to its weakest against the dollar in more than seven months.

The Indian rupee is also near a record low against the dollar, Japan’s yen is at its weakest since mid-May and the value of the euro was eroded by the potential for a row over migration policy to fracture the German government.

The dollar received another boost on Monday from better than expected U.S. manufacturing data. Its increasing strength has helped to drive down spot gold by more than 8 percent from its April high of $1,365.23.

Spot gold was down 0.4 percent at $1,246.89 an ounce by 1413 GMT on Monday, close to last Thursday’s low of $1,245.32, the weakest since early December.

U.S. gold futures for August delivery were down 0.5 percent at $1,248.70 an ounce.

The stronger dollar has dragged down gold in combination with a rapid decrease in funds’ bets on higher prices and the selling of gold held by exchange-traded funds (ETFs), said Societe Generale analyst Robin Bhar.

“It does seem to be a perfect storm for gold,” he said.

Funds and money managers have cut their net long position on the Comex exchange to the lowest since January 2016, while gold holdings by ETFs tracked by Reuters are down 3.6 percent, or more than 2 million ounces, from late May.

Investors were looking ahead to the minutes of a June Federal Reserve meeting on Thursday and U.S. employment data on Friday, with an aggressive tone by the Fed or strong jobs numbers likely to be seen as bolstering the case for higher U.S. interest rates.

That could drive gold prices even lower because higher rates tend to strengthen the dollar and also boost bond yields, reducing the appeal of non-yielding bullion.

On the technical side, support was at the psychological level of $1,250 and gold’s December low of $1,236.60, ScotiaMocatta analysts said. Technical indicators suggest that gold could fall further, they added.

In other precious metals, silver was down 1.2 percent at $15.88 an ounce after hitting $15.81, the lowest in six-and-a-half months.

Platinum was down 1.9 percent at $831.49 an ounce after touching its weakest since January 2016 at $828.50, while Palladium fell 1.4 percent to $939.50.

Additional reporting by Karen Rodrigues in Bengaluru; Editing by David Goodman

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