Gold reached a three-month high on Monday, rising for a fifth session, as a run of soft U.S. data supported expectations that the Federal Reserve will hold off hiking interest rates for the time being.
Spot prices rose 3 percent last week, their biggest weekly climb in four months, after recent downbeat readings of the U.S. jobs market, retail sales and consumer sentiment led analysts to conclude that an imminent rate hike is unlikely.
That took some pressure off gold. An increase in rates would raise the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion, while boosting the dollar, in which it is priced.
"The U.S. data has been a lot weaker than expected, which has calmed investors who had been expecting a June or July rate hike,'' Capital Economics analyst Simona Gambarini said. "We're of the view that September is the most likely date when the Fed will raise rates. If the data continues to be weaker, we would expect gold to react quite strongly.''
Gold hit a peak at $1,232.20, its highest since mid-February, earlier in the day, but pared gains as the dollar rose nearly 1 percent against the euro, rebounding from last week's near four-month low.