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[SINGAPORE] Gold fell from a three-week high on Wednesday as the dollar regained some ground from the yen and Asian equities traded near 2016 highs, denting the metal's safe-haven appeal.
Surprisingly upbeat Chinese trade data offered hope the Asian giant was finally stabilising, underpinning risk sentiment. The Japanese yen slid from recent peaks against the greenback.
Spot gold was down 0.5 per cent at US$1,249.40 an ounce as of 0711 GMT, after earlier hitting a session low of US$1,246.55. The metal had jumped to a three-week high of US$1,262.60 on Tuesday.
"Gold is tracking the dollar-yen move, but there is still some upside," said a Sydney-based bullion trader. "There are enough concerns about the economy and the timing of US rate hikes to support gold at these levels." For the time being, however, gold might see some technical resistance.
"It certainly seems like US$1,260 is going to be fairly stiff resistance for the time being, with no less than five attempts to break and hold above there over the course of yesterday," said MKS Group trader Alex Thorndike.
"At this juncture we feel the yellow metal may pause for now and potentially retrace somewhat. US$1,240-45 should provide decent support, while US$1,260-63 looks a decent barrier for now."
Gold had its best quarter in 30 years in the three months to March, with the dollar on the back foot as investors scaled back expectations of rate hikes by the Federal Reserve. The dollar has shed over 4 per cent versus a basket of currencies this year.
Fed policymakers signalled in December that four hikes would probably be needed this year, though they cut their view in March to two rate increases for 2016.
Markets are factoring in only one rate hike. But comments from two Fed officials on Tuesday added to the uncertainty.
The Fed could reasonably raise interest rates two or three times this year, San Francisco Fed President John Williams said, adding that he does not expect much market turmoil when it does.
The Fed will likely have to raise interest rate around four times this year, Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker said on Tuesday.
Among other precious metals, silver fell 0.6 per cent to US$16.05 after hitting a 5-1/2-month high of US$16.21 on Tuesday. Platinum dipped below $1,000 an ounce after climbing to a one-month high overnight.