Reuters – Gold eased on Friday, putting it on track for a third consecutive weekly fall ahead of US employment data later that could influence the pace of US interest rate rises.
Gold this week broke below a recent trading range and tumbled through technical levels to its lowest since July as progress on US tax reform fuelled optimism about the US economy and boosted the dollar.
“You can put it down to the strength of the dollar and the ebullience of investors regarding equities and all things risk-on,” said ETF Securities analyst Martin Arnold.
“When in such a positive mindset investors don't look for defensive assets like gold.”
The dollar was given an extra boost on Friday after a funding bill eased fears of a US government shutdown this month. A stronger dollar makes bullion more expensive for holders of other currencies and can dampen demand.
Spot gold was down 0.26% at $1,245.66 an ounce at 1255 GMT, close to Thursday's low of $1243.71, the weakest since July 26. It had fallen nearly 3% this week, its third consecutive weekly fall and the biggest.
Selling was triggered after gold broke below $1,260, the bottom of its trading range since September, and plunged below its 200-day moving average for the first time since July.
Technical support is now at $1,250 and a fibonacci level at $1,240.90 but momentum indicators suggest that gold could fall to $1,204.90, the July low, said analysts at ScotiaMocatta.
However, ETF Securities' Arnold said prices were supported by risks including US policy paralysis, tensions in North Korea and the Middle East, and a potential correction in equity valuations. He said gold's fair value was $1,260-$1,280.
Gold is traditionally seen as a safe investment in times of uncertainty.
Investors were looking ahead to US non-farm payrolls data at 1330 GMT. The US Federal Reserve is expected next week to announce a rise in interest rates and offer guidance on the pace of further increases. Strong payrolls would support the case for aggressive rate rises.
Gold is sensitive to rising interest rates because they push up bond yields, reducing the appeal of non-yielding gold, and tend to boost the dollar.
The dollar index was up 0.24%.