Gold Slips as Risk Appetite Boosts Financial Markets

Reuters

Gold prices surrendered early gains to turn lower on Tuesday as news that the Greek government had dropped calls for a write-off of its foreign debt sharpened risk appetite, sparking a rally in stock markets.

The metal benefited in earlier trade from gains in other commodities, but came under pressure as the day progressed as interest waned in gold as a haven from risk.

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Spot gold was down 0.5 percent at $1,268.90 an ounce by 1321 GMT, off an earlier high of $1,284.10. U.S. gold futures for April delivery were down $7.10 an ounce at $1,269.80.

European shares rose 1 percent on Tuesday and U.S. stock index futures climbed, with the benchmark S&P 500 index set to continue a rally fueled by hopes of a deal on Greek debt.

Greece's new government proposed ending a standoff with its official creditors by swapping its foreign debt for growth-linked bonds, a week after its election on an anti-austerity platform.

"(There is some) repositioning away from safe havens," Mitsubishi analyst Jonathan Butler said. "$1,280 was taken out, the 50 percent retracement of the year-to-date high to last week's low. That may have triggered some sell orders."

Gold prices rose more than 8 percent in January, their strongest month in three years, though expectations for a U.S. interest rate increase later in the year kept a lid on gains.

The metal remains sensitive to U.S. data, as traders try to anticipate when the Federal Reserve will raise rates.

Downbeat reports on U.S. consumer spending and factory activity helped gold pare losses on Monday, and nonfarm payrolls (NFP) numbers on Friday will be closely watched.

A Reuters poll of analysts forecast U.S. employment data on Friday would show about 230,000 jobs were created in January, slowing slightly from 252,000 in December but still robust.

"I do not see much real interest in the market before the NFPs this Friday," Afshin Nabavi, head of trading at MKS in Switzerland, said.

Fresh inflows were seen into gold-backed exchange-traded funds on Monday, with holdings of the largest, New York-listed SPDR Gold Shares, climbing to their highest since October at 24.65 million ounces.

Among other precious metals, silver was up 0.4 percent at $17.27 an ounce. Platinum was up 0.2 percent at $1,227.75 an ounce, while palladium was up 0.9 percent at $790.50 an ounce. (Additional reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr. in Singapore; Editing by Dale Hudson and David Evans)