Gold falls for the week on US growth; ends under $1,240

Reuters with
Source: World Gold Council

Gold settled lower on Friday, posting its first weekly fall in six on strong U.S. economic growth, concerns over the Federal Reserve's withdrawal of monetary stimulus and a slump in Chinese demand.

Bullion had gained for most of January until this week, underpinned by weakness in global equities on concerns over emerging economies.

But upbeat U.S. growth data reassured investors worried about capital outflows from emerging markets and also validated the Fed's decision this week to reduce its monthly bond purchases to $65 billion from $75 billion, as expected.

Chart: Precious Metals

Spot gold was last down 0.3 percent to $1,239 an ounce, after a 2 percent drop overnight. U.S. gold futures for April delivery settled $2.60 lower at $1,239.80 an ounce, down 1.9 percent on the week after five straight weeks of gains.

But January's early strength was enough to push gold to its first monthly rise in five. The metal rose about 3 percent for the month.

"The market is struggling to break above the $1,275 level or below $1,225, and I think we will stay around these levels again next week as market participants position themselves ahead of the U.S. nonfarm payroll numbers,'' said Afshin Nabavi, head of trading at MKS SA.

The dollar index was up 0.2 percent on the day, close to a one-week high hit on Thursday. Global shares fell as they struggled to shake off the difficulties that have spread from emerging markets.

"You have strength of the dollar against emerging markets currencies, and that's negative for gold,'' said Quantitative Commodity Research owner Peter Fertig.

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The turmoil in emerging markets is unlikely to derail the foundations of the global economic recovery, while the hawkish bias of the Fed remains in place, UBS said in a note.

Gold was also missing the support of physical demand as the world's number one buyer China has gone into a one-week break.

Chinese premiums had fallen to $4 just before the holiday from over $20 at the beginning of the month.

Even when China comes back from the holiday, its purchases are not expected to be as strong as last year, when it imported a record 1,158 tonnes of gold.

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