Gold prices retreated in Europe on Tuesday as weaker-than-expected German economic data put fresh pressure on the euro, a day after Moody's changed its outlook for Europe's biggest economy to negative.
The precious metal remained firmly underpinned near $1,575 an ounce, however, with confidence in its resilience at current levels growing after it held its ground during the previous day's market sell-off.
Spot gold was down 0.1 percent at $1,575.05 an ounce at 13:54 SA time, while US gold futures for August delivery were down $3.00 an ounce at $1,574.40.
The metal hit a 10-day low on Monday but stayed within the $75 range in which it has traded this month, holding up better than some other commodities like copper and crude oil, as chart support arrested its decline above $1,560 an ounce.
“Markets sold off really heavily yesterday, and gold held up pretty well against that. It is maybe the one thing that has really stayed solid against some pretty solid headwinds elsewhere,” Macquarie analyst Hayden Atkins said.
“People are just keeping the bid where it is, still waiting on things like quantitative easing.” Talk of more QE in the United States, which would undermine the dollar and keep interest rates at rock bottom, lifted gold earlier this year.
The euro fell 0.5 percent against the dollar on Tuesday as traders digested Moody's view on Germany.[ID:nL2E8INIPI
While gold tended to react positively to bad news from the euro zone last year, that trend reversed this year as the dollar, U.S. Treasuries and German Bunds took over as investors' haven of choice.
The euro/dollar exchange rate has instead taken the lead role in dictating day-to-day moves in gold, as impetus from monetary policy announcements and the physical markets petered out. A weaker dollar benefits assets priced in the U.S. unit.
On the wider markets, European shares also eased as Spain's high borrowing costs and Moody's move to cut Germany's rating outlook offset positive Chinese manufacturing numbers.
Gold priced in euros rose 0.2 percent as the single currency retreated, having outperformed gold this month. It is currently up 3.2 percent in July so far, against a 1.5 percent drop in spot prices.
“Thanks to the euro's depreciation vis-a-vis the US dollar, gold in euro terms has been making gains for some time now,” Commerzbank said in a note. “Since mid-May an upswing has become evident which in the current market environment should take the yellow metal on a further upward trajectory.”
Analysts who study past price patterns to determine the future direction of trade said gold's consolidation is showing signs of ending in correction lower. Commerzbank said in a note that it expects the major $1,532/1,522 support area, which held in September and December, to give way over the summer.
“The metal continues to move deeper and deeper into a consolidation triangle,” ScotiaMocatta said in a note, meanwhile. “Current parameters currently lie at $1,560 and $1,611.”
“We would expect fresh selling now below $1,548 and fresh buying above $1,623 as the market tries to play the breakout, it added. “Big picture, triangles tend to be continuation formations, so bias would be a break lower from the $1,790 to $1,528 March-May drop.”
Little support came from the physical market, with offtake still soft in number one gold consumer India, where demand has been hurt by high prices this year. Volumes remained low on the Shanghai Gold Exchange.
Among other precious metals, silver was down 0.2 percent at $26.95 an ounce, while spot platinum was down 0.3 percent at $1,387.99 an ounce and spot palladium was down 0.9 percent at $561.15 an ounce.
The gold/platinum ratio, which measures the number of silver ounces needed to buy an ounce of gold, rose back to seven-month highs on Tuesday as the yellow metal outperformed.
Platinum, demand for which is heavily reliant on the European car market, has suffered from concerns that a growing market surplus would hurt prices this year. - Reuters