Gold prices hit 2-1/2-week low as Middle East tensions ease

A worker polishes gold bullion bars in Australia. — AFP

GOLD prices touched a more than two-week low on Tuesday, dragged by easing concerns of an escalation in the Middle East crisis and profit-taking, while investors awaited key data for fresh clues on the U.S. interest rate trajectory.

Spot gold fell nearly 1% to $2,306.31 per ounce, as of 0616 GMT, after hitting its lowest since April 5 earlier. U.S. gold futures slipped 1.1% to $2,319.80.

"Gold has been the recipient of different types of buying flows in recent months, and now one of those flows has slightly dried up with safe-haven demand receding. Investors are seeing this as an opportunity to lock in some profits after gold's recent (strong) run," said Tim Waterer, chief market analyst, KCM Trade.

Gold dipped more than 2% on Monday, its biggest intraday fall in over a year, as fears of a wider regional conflict eased after Iran said it had no plan to retaliate following an apparent Israeli drone attack.

Gold hit a record high of $2,431.29 on April 12.

This week's main economic focus will be on U.S. GDP data on Thursday and Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) print on Friday.

"If these happen to produce a beat to the upside we could see a further extension of the wait for interest rate relief. Such a scenario could cause the gold price to take a larger step back... in the short term from an opportunity cost perspective," Waterer said.

March headline PCE is likely to increase 0.3%, unchanged from the previous month, and a year-on-year gain of 2.6%, compared with a 2.5% increase in February, according to a Reuters poll.

"The decline... may have also tripped weak longs... fuelling a larger drop," Singaporean bank OCBC said.

Spot silver fell 1.1% to $26.91 per ounce, spot platinum dropped 1.1% to $908.30, and palladium slumped 1.8% to $990.54. - Reuters

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Gold , Middle East , profit taking , interest rate


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