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Gold falls on firmer equities, dollar after robust US data

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Gold fell on Wednesday as European equities edged higher and the dollar hit a four-month high following strong US economic data, which raised expectations that the Federal Reserve may raise rates before the end of the year.

[LONDON] Gold fell on Wednesday as European equities edged higher and the dollar hit a four-month high following strong US economic data, which raised expectations that the Federal Reserve may raise rates before the end of the year.

Spot gold was down 0.4 per cent to US$1,325.91 an ounce at 1019 GMT, while US gold dropped 0.4 per cent to US$1,327.20 an ounce.

The dollar was up 0.1 per cent against a basket of six currencies, after hitting its highest for four months on data showing US housing starts surged more than expected in June, underpinning a theme of strength in the US economy.

"The probability of a US Federal rate hike has increased as of today. Some expectations of a rate hike have come back,"said OCBC Bank analyst Barnabas Gan.

Gold, which has risen 25 per cent this year, is highly sensitive to rising rates, which increase the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding assets such as bullion, while boosting the dollar, in which it is priced.

The metal was also dragged lower by advancing European equities, which increased investor appetite for risk.

"There is a return in risk sentiment across the market in general right now, as you have more monetary stimulus packages from central banks," Mitsubishi Corp analyst Jonathan Butler said.

"Although more stimulus would also favour no-yielding gold, when there's pro-risk trading, there's aslo a retreat of some of those safe-haven elements that have supported the metal."

The International Monetary Fund, however, cut its global growth forecasts for the next two years on Tuesday, citing uncertainty over Britain's looming exit from the EU.

Bullion gained US$100 in the two weeks following Britain's vote to leave the European Union, as worried investors started putting their cash into safe-haven assets, before falling back.

"There are still some headwinds to growth and this may lift safe-haven demand should the implications of Brexit start to unwind," OCBC Bank's Mr Gan said.

Spot gold is biased to fall to US$1,313 per ounce after completing its consolidation, said Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.

Spot silver fell 0.7 pct to US$19.75 an ounce.

Spot platinum was down 0.4 per cent at US$1,084.50, while palladium, which touched an eight-and-half-month high on Tuesday, was down 0.5 per cent at US$653.80.

REUTERS