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Futures & Commodities

Gold falls 1 pct to 2019 low as equities, dollar gain

Gold bars at the Austrian Gold and Silver Separating Plant in Vienna, Austria.
Leonhard Foeger | Reuters

Gold dropped 1 percent on Tuesday to its lowest level of 2019, as a string of robust economic data boosted demand for riskier assets like equities while bullion was further weighed down by gains in the U.S. dollar.

Spot gold was down 0.88 percent to $1,276.25 per ounce as of 3:00 p.m. EDT, having earlier slipped to its lowest since Dec. 27 at $1,272.70.

U.S. gold futures settled 1.1 percent lower at $1,277.20 an ounce.

"We're likely to see some more pressure on gold over the next couple of days, especially with earnings coming out that's going to keep the equity market stronger," said Bob Haberkorn, senior market strategist at RJO Futures. Bullion is also being weighed down by strong data from China and a better-than-expected U.S. jobs report last week, he said.

Indicating strong appeal for riskier assets, Wall Street equities climbed on better-than-expected results from healthcare giants, adding to momentum in global equities driven by the data from China and improved sentiment in Germany.

The dollar also firmed, making the yellow metal more expensive for holders of other currencies.

Investors are now waiting on China's gross domestic product numbers for further cues on global growth. A Reuters poll forecast first-quarter growth to have cooled to 6.3 percent, the weakest pace in at least 27 years, but a flurry of measures to boost domestic demand may have put a floor under activity in March.

"If the data comes out south of 6 percent, it will be enough to rally gold, but anything north of 6 percent will keep gold on the defensive," RJO's Haberkorn said.

Bullion could see a bounce later in the week on bargain hunting with "traders waiting for more downside to go," he added.

On the technical front, gold's break below key support levels, including the 100- and 50-day moving averages, signaled a further downside to prices, analysts and traders said.

Overall sentiment for bullion was turning positive, however, with increasing central bank buying likely to provide a cushion for prices, Standard Chartered analysts said in a client note.

Among other precious metals, silver rose 0.09 percent to $15.00 an ounce, having hit $14.81 in the previous session, its lowest since Dec. 26.

Spot platinum fell 0.96 percent, to $876.50 per ounce, while palladium was down 0.59 percent to $1,353.50.

A sustained deficit in palladium's supply had pushed prices to a record high of $1,620.53 last month and was likely to deepen further this year and in 2020, Standard Chartered added.