April 26, 2018 / 1:28 AM / 3 months ago

Stronger dollar traps gold near five-week lows

LONDON (Reuters) - Gold prices hovered near five-week lows on Thursday as higher U.S. bond yields and a stronger dollar dampened interest in bullion.

FILE PHOTO: A gold ingot and gold coins are seen in this illustration picture taken November 17, 2017. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard/File Photo

Worries about the growing supply of U.S. government debt and inflationary pressures from rising oil prices this week pushed U.S. 10-year bond yields above 3 percent for the first time in four years.

That has reduced the attraction of gold, which does not pay a yield, and helped thrust the dollar to its strongest since January, making bullion more expensive for holders of other currencies.

Spot gold was down 0.2 percent at $1,320.21 an ounce by 1509 GMT. On Wednesday, gold touched its lowest since March 21 at $1,318.51.

U.S. gold futures were 0.1 percent lower at $1,321.70.

Interest from physical buyers and technical support at gold’s 100-day moving average of $1,319.51 was helping to prevent further falls.

“At these low (price) levels, the market could now attract some physical buying interest,” said Peter Fung, head of dealing at Wing Fung Precious Metals in Hong Kong. “The market has a very good (physical) support at around $1,310-$1,315.”

Gold has been stuck in a trading range between about $1,360 and $1,310 since hitting a 1-1/2 year high of $1,366.07 in January.

It is supported by geopolitical uncertainty, which has fuelled demand for gold as a safe haven, but prevented from moving higher by fears of rising U.S. interest rates that would push up bond yields and strengthen the dollar.

U.S. GDP and inflation data on Friday could give new direction to prices, said Mitsubishi analyst Jonathan Butler.

Stronger-than-expected economic growth or inflation would hurt gold by bolstering expectations of more rapid increases to interest rates.

Analysts and traders polled by Reuters this month said gold would average $1,334 an ounce this year and $1,352 an ounce next year, barely shifting from its current price.

They expected silver, which was up 0.2 percent at $16.55 an ounce on Thursday, to fare better, averaging $17.28 an ounce this year and $18 next year.

In other precious metals, platinum was up 0.3 percent at $906.30 and palladium slipped 0.3 percent to $973.97.

Analysts and traders polled by Reuters expected average prices of both metals to be higher this year and next.

Additional reporting by Swati Verma in Bengaluru; Editing by David Goodman and Edmund Blair

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