Gold prices fall for a third day as dollar bounces off December 2014-lows

Gold prices fell for a third straight session on Tuesday as the dollar rebounded from over three year lows hit last week, while investors waited for the minutes of the latest Federal Reserve meeting for clues on the outlook for U.S. interest rates.

Spot gold was down 0.4 percent at $1,341.20 an ounce at 0340 GMT. Earlier, it fell to as low as $1,340.16, the lowest since February 14.

U.S. gold futures were down 1 percent at $1,342.90 per ounce, posting its biggest one-day fall in nearly two weeks.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six currencies, was up 0.3 percent at 89.397. It fell to 88.253 last week, the lowest since December 2014.

The U.S. currency showed signs of a bounce-back as some investors bought in after last week’s declines, though the gains on Tuesday were capped by growing concerns that a rising fiscal deficit in the United States could disrupt the economy.

The minutes of the January Fed meeting will provide key guidance for the dollar and gold, said Helen Lau, analyst at Argonaut Securities.

“The key driver will be interest rate hikes … How fast and how many times they can raise,” Lau added.

The U.S. Fed will release the minutes of its Jan. 30 to 31 policy meeting on Wednesday. The meeting was held during last month’s drop in equity markets and investors are interested in the Fed’s response to the market gyrations as well as the rate outlook.

Higher U.S. interest rates would limit demand for non-interest bearing gold.

Meanwhile, Asian stocks slipped on Tuesday, their recent recovery stalling after European equities broke a winning streak.

Analysts said despite the rate hike outlook, investors will still be weary of rising inflation in the United States.

Gold prices rose 2.4 percent last week in its best weekly gain in more than five months, as investors bought gold on fears of rising inflation in the United States.

Spot gold is expected to test a support at $1,338 per ounce,with a good chance of breaking below this level and falling more to the next support at $1,326, according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.

Among other precious metals, silver was down 0.6 percent at $16.57 an ounce.

Palladium was 0.4 percent lower at $1,028.65, after rising to the highest since February 2 at $1,050 in the previous session, while platinum was down 0.1 percent at $1,001.24, after rising to a three-week high on Monday at $1,013.60.

Source: Reuters