Gold prices dipped over 2.0 per cent to their lowest level in a week as the US dollar firmed, but the metal was on track for a sixth straight quarterly rise on concerns about the global economic damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Spot gold fell 2.1 per cent to $US1,587.70 per ounce on Tuesday.
US gold futures settled 2.8 per cent lower at $US1,596.60.
“The mood across markets seems to be improving as investors take comfort from the positive economic data from China. However, a sense of caution still lingers in the air which is stimulating appetite for the dollar,” said FXTM analyst Lukman Otunuga.
The dollar climbed against major rivals, making gold more expensive for holders of other currencies.
Investors cheered as strong Chinese factory data held out hope for an economic revival even as much of the rest of the world locked down to fight the virus outbreak.
For the quarter, gold has gained 4.6 per cent on the back of US-Iran tensions in January and then the global pandemic.
“Global sentiment remains shaky despite central banks and governments standing together in the fight against COVID-19,” Otunuga said, adding “fears revolving around a global recession should send investors rushing towards gold, especially if cracks start showing in the largest economy in the world.”
Several policy measures have been implemented to combat the economic toll from the coronavirus, which has infected nearly 800,000 people worldwide and killed almost 39,000 people.
Russia’s central bank announced it would suspend buying gold starting April 1.
Platinum fell 0.4 per cent to $US720.25, and was on track to post its biggest quarterly decline since September 2008.
“Platinum demand from the automotive industry has been largely paralysed by the corona crisis,” Commerzbank analysts said in a note.
“The production outages in South Africa will be unable to offset the negative effects on demand, assuming that production – as announced so far – remains restricted for only three weeks.”
The world’s largest platinum producers Anglo American Platinum, Sibanye-Stillwater and Impala Platinum have declared force majeure on contracts after a three-week national lockdown in South Africa forced operations to close.
Palladium rose 1.1 per cent to $US2,353.18 an ounce. The auto-catalyst metal was headed for its biggest quarterly gain since 2010 but its first monthly decline in eight.
Silver lost 1.1 per cent to $13.96, and was set to post its biggest quarterly decline since June 2013 and worst month since September 2011.