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Gold Falls 1.5% on Dollar Gain, Posts Weekly Drop

AP

Gold fell nearly 1.5 percent on Friday as a sharp rise in the dollar against the Japanese yen triggered technical selling, sending the metal to a two-week low.

Bullion posted a weekly drop of around 2.5 percent as continued outflows in gold-backed exchange-traded funds more than offset strong physical retail demand following gold's historic selloff in mid-April.

Gold slid for a second consecutive day as the yen plummeted to its lowest against the U.S. dollar in more than four years on Friday, a day after the U.S. currency rose above the 100-yen level. The dollar rally also weighed on industrial commodities led by crude.

"It's all about the dollar strength. That's where all the fast money is going,'' said Miguel Perez-Santalla, vice president of BullionVault, an online physical gold and silver market.

"I think this is another opportunity for physical buyers," he said.

Gold's sharp losses last month has intensified a disconnect between funds that sold on dissatisfaction over bullion's underperformance and individual investors who could not get enough physical gold coins and bars at bargain prices.

(Read More: Major Gold Investor Explains Exit)

Spot gold fell as much as 2.5 percent to a low of $1,420.60 an ounce earlier in the session. It was last down 1 percent at $1,442 an ounce.

U.S. gold futures settled down $32 at $1,436.60 an ounce, with trading volume around 10 percent above its 30-day average, preliminary Reuters data showed.

(Read More: Investors Continue to Shift Money From Gold to Equities)

Gold accelerated losses after sell-stops were triggered below technical support at $1,450 an ounce, said Carlos Sanchez, director of commodities and asset management at CPM Group.

Bullion's failure to break above a $40 trading range in the past two weeks suggested sentiment remains weak after the metal plunged to $1,321.35 an ounce on April 16, its lowest in more than two years, analysts said.

ETF Reports Inflow

On Thursday, the world's largest gold-backed ETF, the SPDR Gold Trust, reported its first daily inflow since March 19. SPDR Gold's holdings are down 167.1 tonnes so far in the second quarter.

Hopes of surging physical bullion demand from China and India could further support bullion prices, analysts said. CPM Group's Sanchez cited Akshya Tritiya, a key gold-buying Hindu festival on May 13, for near-term support to bullion prices.

Platinum group metals were down after Anglo American Platinum said on Friday it would cut 6,000 South African mining jobs, fewer than half the 14,000 initially proposed.

Spot platinum was down 1 percent at almost $1,487 an ounce, while spot palladium inched up 0.1 percent to almost $705 an ounce. Silver edged up 0.6 percent to nearly $24 an ounce.