Gold prices edged up on Wednesday, as the U.S. dollar slumped to three-year lows against a basket of currencies.
Spot gold was up 0.1 percent at $1,341 an ounce by 0250 GMT. It touched its strongest since Sept. 8 at $1,344.44 on Monday. U.S. gold futures were up 0.2 percent at $1,340 an ounce.
The dollar index was down 0.1 percent at 90.373, after dropping to its lowest since December, 2014 to 90.113.
“Most of the move in gold has been dollar denominated … We have seen very little change in ETF holdings. There is very little change in perception of gold in terms of safe haven demand,” said Mark Keenan, global commodities strategist and head of research – Asia-Pacific at Societe Generale.
“The outlook for gold in our view is down due to the lack of physical demand in Asia and the outlook for rate hikes this year is a headwind for gold.”
The U.S. Federal Reserve is widely expected to raise interest rates multiple times this year, although at a gradual pace.
Gold is highly sensitive to rising U.S. interest rates, as these increase the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion, while boosting the dollar, in which it is priced.
Asian stocks stepped back from a record high on Wednesday as the region’s resources shares were dented by falling oil and commodity prices, while digital currencies tumbled on worries about tighter regulation.
“While the U.S. dollar remains the most prominent driver of momentum, we cannot overlook the meltdown in Bitcoin on the back of regulatory oversight adding to the gold risk premium,” said Stephen Innes, APAC head of trading at OANDA.
Digital currencies tumbled, with bitcoin falling to a six-week low of $10,162 after reports said South Korea and China could ban trading, which intensified fears of a wider regulatory crackdown.
Spot gold targets its Sept. 8, 2017 high of $1,357.54 per ounce, as suggested by its wave pattern and a retracement analysis, according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.
Among other precious metals, spot palladium was up 0.8 percent at $1,102 per ounce. The metal, which hit a record high of $1,138 an ounce on Monday, fell nearly 3 percent on Tuesday.
Palladium has had a sustained rally as high demand in the auto industry fueled supply concerns, sending Nymex palladium futures net long positions to record highs.
Spot silver was mostly unchanged at $17.20 per ounce., while spot platinum rose 0.3 percent to $1,002, after touching its highest since September 8 at $1,006.60.