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Gold falls to 1-year low as the dollar marches higher

Leonhard Foeger | Reuters

Gold inched down to the lowest price in over one year on Thursday after an upbeat assessment of the U.S. economy by the Federal Reserve and new trade tensions between Washington and Beijing boosted the dollar.

"The belief is that there will be real and honest negotiation between USA and China," said Miguel Perez-Santalla, vice president of Heraeus Metal Management in New York, in a note. "Hence with the economy humming along and interest rate hikes guaranteed in the future (based on) the Fed announcement yesterday, the gold price will stay depressed."

Gold has slumped 11 percent since April, as rising U.S. interest rates and the perception that trade wars will damage the United States less than other nations pushed the dollar higher. The stronger dollar hurts gold because it makes bullion more expensive for buyers with other currencies. Higher bond yields meanwhile make non-yielding gold less attractive to investors.

With the U.S. dollar up nearly 0.5 percent against a basket of currencies, spot gold was down 0.53 percent at $1,209.01 an ounce, its lowest since July 2017. U.S. gold futures for December delivery settled down $7.50 at $1,220.10.

"We are in territory - $1,200-$1,220 an ounce - where we should start to bottom out," said ABN AMRO analyst Georgette Boele.

Momentum indicators suggest prices will continue to fall, according to analysts at ScotiaMocatta, and gold has not yet snapped a steep downtrend line from mid-June.

Adding to the pressure on bullion are expectations that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates again in September. Those expectations were bolstered on Wednesday by the Fed, which praised the strength of the U.S. economy, and forecast-beating employment data on Wednesday and Thursday.

Higher interest rates are a source of pressure for gold because they push up bond yields and tend to boost the dollar. Gold could fall to $1,200 ahead of a September rate announcement, Natixis analyst Bernard Dahdah said.

But after that, tightening monetary policy elsewhere could begin to push the dollar lower and help gold recover to above $1,300 next year, he said.

The Bank of England raised interest rates while the European Central Bank also intends to wind down its stimulus measures.

In other precious metals, silver was down 0.1 percent at $15.33.

Miner Impala Platinum's announcement to slash about a third of its workforce supported platinum and palladium prices, traders said. Platinum rose 1.6 percent to $825 and palladium was flat at $914.10.