New York/London: Gold prices fell on Monday to their lowest levels in nearly a month as signs of steady Chinese economic growth fuelled worries about monetary tightening there and extended the previous session`s slide on U.S. Federal Reserve tapering fears.
Bullion prices fell after data showed China`s annual inflation climbed and as factory output and investment data pointed to signs of stabilization in the world`s second-largest economy, fanning market worries about policy tightening, traders said.
Gold fell for a third consecutive session. It posted its biggest one-day fall in more than a month on Friday when surprisingly strong U.S. jobs data for October indicated the Fed could cut its bond-buying stimulus as early as December.
"We are still trading under the threat of Fed tapering as a response to Friday`s nonfarm payroll data," said David Meger, director of metals trading at futures brokerage Vision Financial Markets.
"The ongoing strength of the equities market continues to take investment dollars away from the precious metals arena," Meger said.
Spot gold was down 0.5 percent at USD 1,282.56 an ounce by 1:54 p.m. EST (1854 GMT), having earlier hit its lowest since October 17 at USD 1,278.94 an ounce in early trade.
U.S. Comex gold futures for December settled down USD 3.50 at USD 1,281.10 an ounce, with trading volume about 45 percent below its 250-day average, preliminary Reuters data showed.
U.S. stocks were little changed on Monday as the market took a breather after its five-week winning streak. The S&P 500 equities index held within striking distance of a record high.
PHYSICAL DEMAND STILL WEAK
Gold`s recent drop to below USD 1,300 has failed to attract demand in Asia as buyers waiting on the sidelines expect prices to weaken further, dealers said.
Dealers in Hong Kong said there was no strong pickup in demand, and premiums at the Shanghai Gold Exchange are now far from the levels seen after April`s record two-day USD 225 drop in bullion prices.
In physical gold news, precious metals storage firm Malca-Amit has opened a facility in the new Shanghai free trade zone that can store up to 2,000 tonnes of gold, as it hopes to benefit from continued strength in China`s demand for bullion.
On charts, gold`s slide below USD 1,300 an ounce on Friday has put the metal on track to retest its October low of USD 1,251. A failure of support there could set up a break below June`s three-year low, analysts said.
Spot silver fell 0.4 percent to USD 21.37 an ounce. Platinum dropped 0.7 percent to USD 1,428.99 an ounce, while palladium fell 0.6 percent to USD 751.50 an ounce.
First Published: Tuesday, November 12, 2013, 10:32