April 29, 2019 / 4:37 AM / 4 months ago

PRECIOUS-Gold falls as U.S., China data boost equities

* SPDR gold holdings at lowest since Oct. 19

* Palladium off one-month peak (Updates prices, adds comments)

By Arijit Bose

April 29 (Reuters) - Gold prices eased on Monday, having touched a more-than one week high in the previous session, as stronger equity markets lifted risk-sentiment, thereby eroding safe-haven demand of the metal.

Spot gold fell by 0.3 percent to $1,281.87 per ounce at 0847 GMT, having hit its highest since April 16 at $1,288.59 in the previous session.

U.S. gold futures shed 0.4 percent to $1,283.80 an ounce.

“There have been rebounds in both U.S. and Chinese data. This is beating the safe-haven demand and helping the equity markets instead,” said Vandana Bharti, assistant vice-president of commodity research at SMC Comtrade.

Global shares rose on Monday, aided by data showing profits at Chinese industrial firms grew for the first time in four months and a strong reading of U.S. first quarter growth data last week.

Chinese industrial firms rose 13.9 percent year-on-year in March, thereby furthering optimism that the country’s economy may be starting to stabilize.

Friday’s gross domestic product (GDP) data from the United States also saw the country’s economy grow by 3.2 percent in the first quarter.

The recent uplift in equities has kept gold under the wraps with holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, falling 0.16 percent to its lowest since Oct. 19 at 746.69 tonnes on Friday.

Holdings have fallen by over 3 percent since the beginning of this month.

However, the U.S. GDP data also instigated questions about the actual economic strength of the country, since the quarterly growth figures were largely driven by temporary factors like a smaller trade deficit and the largest accumulation of unsold merchandise since 2015.

Data showed that core personal consumption expenditure price index figure, the Fed’s preferred metric of inflation, increased at only a 1.3 percent rate versus 1.8 percent in the prior quarter.

“The U.S. GDP figures, also cast some doubt on the state of its economy and the strength of the U.S. consumer,” said IG Markets analyst Kyle Rodda, said adding that has prompted some traders to expect a rate cut from the U.S. Federal Reserve.

About a third of economists polled by Reuters on April 25 expect one real rate cut by 2020.

Lower interest rates in the U.S. put pressure on the dollar and bond yields, making greenback-denominated gold less expensive for holders of other currencies and increasing the appeal of non-yielding assets.

Elsewhere, silver fell 0.6 percent to $14.97 per ounce, while platinum gained 0.1 percent to $895.25.

Palladium fell 0.4 percent to $1,458.50, having climbed to its highest in a month at $1,466.42 earlier in the session. (Reporting by Arijit Bose in Bengaluru; Editing by Joseph Radford and Uttaresh.V)

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