Gold Prices Decline as China Manufacturing Data Lifts Confidence

London (April 1)  Gold prices edged lower on Monday, as better-than-expected China manufacturing data eased concerns about a slowdown in economic growth and boosted appetite for riskier assets.

China's Caixin/Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) rose to 50.8 from 49.9 in February. That was the strongest reading in eight months and followed an uptick in the official PMI, which tracks mainly state-owned enterprises.

The data suggested China's ailing manufacturing sector is on a path to recovery after a sharp slowdown around the turn of the year.

Comex gold futures were down $4.25, or around 0.3%, to $1,294.25 a troy ounce by 7:00AM ET (11:00 GMT).

Meanwhile, spot gold was trading at $1,289.81 per ounce, down $2.28, or roughly 0.2%, after touching its lowest since March 8 at $1,286.35 on Friday.

The Chinese data also triggered a reversal of some of the gains in U.S. Treasuries. The 2-year note yield rose 3 basis points to 2.29% in the wake of the news. Higher yields generally depress demand for gold, a non-interest bearing safe haven asset.

The market is looking ahead to a busy week of U.S. data, which should bring further clarity on whether the economy is losing steam or just stumbling through a soft patch.

The March U.S. jobs report at the end of the week will be the main event for financial markets. Besides the employment report, this week's calendar also features key U.S. retail sales figures as well as the latest data on manufacturing activity.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a basket of six major currencies, was down 0.2% at 96.64, after rising as high as 96.91 on Friday, its strongest since March 13.

In other metals trading, silver futures lost 6.7 cents, or about 0.4%, to trade at $15.04 a troy ounce.

Meanwhile, palladium futures added 0.5% to $1,348.15 an ounce, while platinum dipped 0.6% to $849.40 an ounce.

Reuters

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