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Gold drops to 3-month low on dollar, US rate expectations
[LONDON] Gold fell almost one per cent to a three-month low on Tuesday as the dollar rose to a near 12-year peak versus the euro on renewed expectations of a mid-year hike in US interest rates.
Spot gold dropped to its lowest since Dec 1 at US$1,155.60 an ounce in early trade, and was down 0.4 per cent at US$1,161.90 by 1048 GMT.
Platinum fell to a new near-five-year low of US$1,125.75 an ounce. The metal has dropped 5.1 per cent since the start of the year on expectations of lower demand from the automotive sector and higher mine supply.
"Dollar strength overnight in Asia sent the complex lower," Deutsche Boerse's MNI senior analyst Tony Walters said. "The trend is your friend and people will continue to sell rallies," he added.
"Seemingly the only spanner that could be thrown into the works at the moment is if the Fed doesn't raise rates in June, but the market is short ... and it continues to go in its favour."
Gold took a hit after Friday's strong US non-farm payrolls data boosted expectations the Federal Reserve would begin increasing interest rates by the middle of the year.
The Fed has kept rates at near zero since December 2008, boosting non-interest bearing gold. But when the central bank started to signal it was looking to tighten its loose monetary policy, the metal began to fall.
The dollar climbed to its highest since September 2003 against a basket of major currencies, making gold more expensive for holders of other currencies.
Comments from a top Fed official added to rate hike worries. Richard Fisher, president of the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank, said the US central bank should promptly end its easy monetary policy and press ahead with raising rates.
Investors were also eyeing talks over the Greek debt crisis, where prolonged uncertainty could help safe-haven bullion.
"Unless the situation surrounding Greek's debts take a huge turn for the worse, the bearish sentiment engulfing gold currently will likely triumph over any mild safe haven appeal the precious metal is exhibiting," said Howie Lee, analyst at Phillip Futures.
Investor positioning indicated a bearish outlook. Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell 0.43 per cent to 753.04 tonnes on Monday.
Spot silver fell to its lowest in two months at US$15.57 an ounce. Palladium dropped 1.7 per cent to US$806 an ounce.