Futures & Commodities

Gold dips to 1-week low as dollar bounces on strong data

Gold fell to its lowest in more than a week on Friday and was on track to mark its biggest weekly decline in more than a month, as the dollar climbed on robust U.S. economic data ahead of a U.S. Federal Reserve meeting next week.

Spot gold eased 0.3 percent to $1,238.86 per ounce as of 11:14 a.m. EST (1614 GMT). Earlier in the session, prices hit their lowest since Dec. 4 at $1,232.39. The metal is down about 0.7 percent so far this week.

U.S. gold futures were down 0.4 percent at $1,242.40 per ounce.

The dollar rose to a 19-month high after data showed U.S. consumer spending appeared to gather momentum while industrial production rebounded in November.

"The strength of the dollar has weighed across the complex. The key driver in the next few sessions is going to be the markets expectations for the Fed," said Suki Cooper, precious metals analyst at Standard Chartered Bank.

Markets are awaiting the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting on Dec. 18-19, where the U.S. central bank is widely expected to raise interest rates. The focus, however, would be on the outlook for 2019.

"While gold extended its trading range to the $1,250 level (earlier this week), it has come off that level, and with the Fed rate hike next week, any gold price rise will be hampered by expected dollar strength," said Ronan Manly, a precious metals analyst at Singapore-based dealer BullionStar.

Gold prices rose to a five-month peak of $1,250.55 an ounce on Monday, but has given up all the gains as the dollar strengthened against a basket of major currencies.

"With China's economy slowing, along with Germany and parts of the European Union, one would expect interest in the gold market," Walter Pehowich, executive vice president of investment services at Dillon Gage Metals, wrote in a note.

"But with the dollar being so strong ... it's going to take a major news story to bring the price of gold back in favor with investors."

Among other precious metals, spot palladium was down 2.1 percent at $1,234 per ounce, after hitting an all-time high of $1,269.25 on Thursday. The metal was on track to mark its third week of gains with prices up about 1 percent so far this week.

"The palladium market is still set to be in deficit in 2019, but you could see some profit-taking and some concerns over the auto-market weighing on the palladium prices into the year end," Standard Chartered Bank's Cooper said.

Silver fell 1.1 percent to $14.60 per ounce.

Platinum was down 0.4 percent at $789.70 per ounce and was set to post a sixth straight weekly decline.