Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

London — Gold fell on Thursday as the dollar bounced from a near three-week low against the euro after European Central Bank (ECB) president Mario Draghi signaled that any policy normalisation in the eurozone would be very gradual.

The euro gave up all its early gains against the dollar to turn lower after Draghi said monetary policy would remain "reactive" and that measures of underlying inflation were still subdued. Spot gold was down 0.3% at $1,321.09 an ounce at 3pm GMT. It touched a one-week high of $1,340.42 on Wednesday before closing 0.6% lower. US gold futures were down 0.4% at $1,321.80.

ABN Amro analyst Georgette Boele said the dollar would remain the key driver of gold prices in the near term. "The only reason we were up near $1,340 was because the dollar fell towards the end of last week," she said.

European and US stocks rose on Thursday as traders took a break from worrying about a global trade war and focused instead on the ECB’s plans to end its €2.5-trillion stimulus programme. Markets are awaiting further news on plans for US tariffs on some imported goods, announced by US President Donald Trump last week. The White House said late on Wednesday that Canada, Mexico and possibly other countries may be granted exemptions.

There was some pointed criticism from Draghi for Trump’s plans for more trade tariffs. "If you put tariffs against [those] who are your allies, one wonders who the enemies are," he said.

Trump will sign a proclamation establishing the tariffs during a ceremony scheduled for 8.30pm GMT, a source familiar with the situation said. "Should tariff concerns remain in focus, gold should once again find its feet," ANZ said in a note.

Traders are also awaiting Friday’s non-farm payrolls data for February, a key barometer of the US economy, for further clues on the pace of Federal Reserve rate increases. Gold is highly sensitive to rising US interest rates, which increase the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion, while boosting the dollar in which it is priced.

Silver was down 0.1% at $16.48 an ounce, while platinum was 0.5% lower at $947.87 after touching its weakest since Jan. 4 at $943. The platinum market will be broadly balanced this year as a drop in supply trims last year’s surplus to negligible levels, the World Platinum Investment Council said on Thursday.

Palladium was down 0.2% at $966.72 after dropping to its lowest since February 9 at $961.55 on Wednesday.