PRECIOUS-Gold dips as dollar holds near 2018 peak

© Reuters. PRECIOUS-Gold dips as dollar holds near 2018 peak

* Gold heads back towards its low for the year

* touches seven-year high

* GRAPHIC-2018 asset returns: (Updates throughout, changes to LONDON dateline)

By Jan Harvey

LONDON, May 17 (Reuters) – Gold slid back towards its low for the year on Thursday as another rise in U.S. bond yields and concerns over political risk in Italy held the near its 2018 peak.

The precious metal has fallen more than 2 percent this week on gains in the U.S. currency and a rise in U.S. 10-year Treasury yields to seven-year highs. Higher yields increase the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding assets such as bullion.

XAU= was down 0.1 percent at $1,288.96 an ounce by 0930 GMT, close to the previous day’s 4-1/2 month low of $1,286.20. U.S. GCv1 for June delivery were down $3.40 at $1,288.10.

The dollar has climbed nearly 4 percent so far this quarter on expectations that the Federal Reserve will lift U.S. interest rates further this year to curb inflation, at a time when other central banks are still keeping monetary policy loose. FRX/

“I expect further weakness in gold prices because I think the dollar can rise a bit further,” said ABN Amro analyst Georgette Boele.

“Gold prices are mainly driven by the U.S. dollar and then U.S. yields … our year-end 10-year U.S. Treasury forecast stands at 3.2 percent, with three more Fed rate hikes.”

The euro remains under pressure, hovering near a five-month low on concerns that political developments in Italy could cause wider disruption in the common currency bloc. uncertainty arising out of North Korea after Pyongyang threatened to pull out of a meeting with the United States was likely to be limiting downside for gold, analysts said. However, that was not enough to offset the strength in the dollar. a technical perspective, gold prices were looking vulnerable to further losses after breaking below key chart levels this week, said analysts who study past price moves to determine the future direction of trade.

“Gold has eroded key support, namely the 200-day moving average, the $1,302.74 March low and the 50 percent retracement (of the December-to-January rally),” Commerzbank (DE:) said in a note on technicals. “We have been forced to neutralise our outlook as the market is now on the defensive.”

Among other precious metals, silver was up 0.3 percent at $16.40 an ounce, having touched its lowest in two weeks at $16.17 in the previous session.

Platinum was up 0.3 percent at $886.74 after hitting its lowest in five months at $883, while Palladium fell by 0.1 percent to $982.

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