Gold price drops for a third session ahead of US bond auctions

London (Feb 20)  Gold prices were weighed down by a stronger dollar on Tuesday, dropping for the third session, but were underpinned by geopolitical worries and uncertainty about this week’s huge US bond auctions.

The dollar continued its rebound from three-year lows as investors believed the currency was due an upward correction after a brutal sell-off in recent weeks. A buoyant dollar makes commodities priced in it more expensive for buyers using other currencies.

Spot gold was down 0.7%, its biggest one-day percentage fall in two weeks, at $1,337.41 an ounce by 11.10am GMT.

US gold futures shed 1.2% to $1,339.80 an ounce, posting their biggest one-day percentage fall since November 2017. Spot gold is expected to fall to the next support level at $1,326, according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao. Gold may get a boost later on Tuesday, however, when the US government launches a series of auctions for $258bn worth of debt this week.

"We have a barrage of US debt being auctioned off and if there is less than the required appetite for that mountain of debt, it could weaken the dollar and support gold," said Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank in Copenhagen. Geopolitical uncertainty ranging from disunity at the recent Munich security conference to threatened US trade sanctions may increase safe haven demand for gold, he added.

"That leads me to believe that any correction in gold will continue to be a buying opportunity at this stage, with $1,322 as my target for those who are thinking of getting back into the market."

Gold investors will also be eyeing the release of the minutes of the US Federal Reserve’s January 30 to 31 policy meeting on Wednesday. "The key driver will be interest rate hikes ... How fast and how many times they can [be raised]," said Helen Lau, analyst at Argonaut Securities in Hong Kong. Higher US interest rates tend to depress demand for non-interest bearing gold.

Among other precious metals, silver slipped 0.9% to $16.51 an ounce. Palladium gave up 0.4% at $1,028.47, after rising to the highest since February 2 at $1,050 in the previous session. Platinum dipped 0.1% to $1,001.80, after rising to a three-week high of $1,013.60 on Monday.

Reuters

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