April 23, 2019 / 10:21 AM / 3 months ago

PRECIOUS-Gold falls to 4-month low on firm dollar, risk sentiment

* Gold down nearly 6 pct from Feb highs

* Platinum off 2-week highs hit in the previous session

* GRAPHIC-2019 asset returns: tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl (Updates prices)

By Sethuraman N R

April 23 (Reuters) - Gold prices fell on Tuesday to a near four-month low as a firmer dollar and investors’ ongoing preference for riskier assets took the sheen off the metal traditionally seen as a safe haven.

Spot gold was down 0.5 percent to $1,267.80 per ounce at 1300 GMT, after falling to its lowest since Dec. 27 at $1,266.50.

U.S. gold futures fell 0.6 percent to $1,270 an ounce.

“Growth worries that had weighed on risk sentiment and supported gold have largely faded,” Julius Baer analyst Carsten Menke said, adding sentiment in financial markets was positive.

“That’s why the positioning on gold is also turning towards the negative side and we have not seen any inflows in exchange traded gold products.”

Data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission showed speculators switched to a net short position in COMEX gold in the week to April 16.

Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, were at their lowest since Oct. 26.

The dollar index rose 0.3 percent on Tuesday as a drop in market volatility boosted demand for riskier assets, with higher U.S. bond yields also offering support.

Markets are looking to the release of U.S. GDP data later in the week for indications about the strength of the world’s largest economy.

Better-than-expected economic readings from both the United States and China lately have assuaged investor concerns of a sharp global economic slowdown, although weak manufacturing surveys from Asia and Europe have kept a lid on sentiment.

Stronger equities this year have also dented gold’s appeal, with the metal now about 6 percent below its 2019 peak touched in February.

Analysts and traders said gold’s break below key support levels last week, including the 100- and 50-day moving averages, signalled further downside for prices.

“Gold looks vulnerable to a further extension lower through $1,270, opening a test toward the 200-day moving average at $1,251,” MKS PAMP Group said in a note.

In other metals, silver fell 1.3 percent to $14.79 per ounce. Platinum fell 1.1 percent to $885.72 per ounce, having hit a two-week high of $911.75 in the previous session.

Palladium was 0.6 percent lower at $1,378.29 per ounce, after falling as much as 3.5 percent in the previous session. (Reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; Editing by Louise Heavens and Mark Potter)

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