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Gold dips as dollar index climbs back towards 2018 peak

Gold fell on Monday, snapping three days of gains as the dollar index rose back towards its 2018 peak, with the previous session’s soft U.S. jobs data doing little to dampen optimism over the world’s largest economy.

That left traders betting that the Federal Reserve would press ahead with lifting U.S. interest rates this year, potentially cooling interest in gold because it increases the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding assets such as bullion.

Spot gold XAU= was down 0.1 percent at $1,313.03 an ounce by 0930 GMT, having touched its highest since April 30 at $1,318.85. U.S. gold futures GCcv1 for June delivery eased by 0.1 percent to $1,314.

The market was thinned by a national holiday in the United Kingdom, which closed trading desks in London.

The dollar index rose back towards Friday’s peak for the year on Monday after U.S. jobs and wages data did little to alter perceptions of strength in the U.S. economy and consequently expectations for more Fed rate hikes. FRX/

Meanwhile, a surprise drop in German industrial orders served as a reminder that softer economic data could encourage the European Central Bank to delay the unwinding of its extraordinary stimulus measures. GVD/EUR

Commerzbank (DE:CBKG) analyst Carsten Fritsch said that gold was still primarily driven by the dollar and the widening interest rate differential between the United State and Europe. “This all boosts the U.S. dollar and weighs on gold,” he said.

Investors are therefore tempering bets on higher gold prices, he said. “Spec net longs are at the lowest since July 2017. (There has been a) massive reduction in the last few trading weeks, so most speculative investors have thrown in the towel already.”

Speculators cut their net long positions in COMEX gold by 62,378 contracts to 51,985 contracts in the week to May 1, data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) showed on Friday. of the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, New York-based SPDR Gold Shares GLD , fell 0.17 percent to 864.13 tonnes on Friday. silver XAG= was down 0.2 percent at $16.46 an ounce, while palladium XPD= gained 1.1 percent to $978.

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