Gold. Picture: REUTERS
Gold. Picture: REUTERS

London — A stronger dollar combined with a slump in the Chinese currency pushed gold down to the weakest in nearly 17 months on Friday and some analysts expect further downside.

Spot gold was unchanged at $1,207.56/oz at 9.41am GMT, after earlier dropping to its lowest since March 15 2017 at $1,204. For the week, it was down about 1.4%. US gold futures fell 0.4% to $1,215.70/oz on Friday.

"We have dollar strength, also versus the yuan, and that combination with the trade tension is putting downward pressure on the gold price," said Georgette Boele, commodity strategist at ABN AMRO in Amsterdam.

The dollar climbed to a two-week high against a basket of major currencies and scaled a 14-month peak versus the Chinese yuan as concern about an escalation in trade tension between the US and China supported the US currency.

"They [speculators] really want to test the $1,200 level, but it should bottom out close to there. I think when people get back from holidays in September, they will probably say ‘Oh, gold is very cheap, let’s buy it’," Boele said.

The greenback was also supported by strong US economic data and an outlook for higher interest rates.

"The most recent data suggests continued weakness for gold amid a stronger US dollar index," said John Sharma, an economist at National Australia Bank.

Spot gold might fall towards the next support at $1,194, as it has resumed its downtrend from $1,309.30, said Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.

Also weighing on the market was a report by the World Gold Council showing that global demand fell 6% in the first half of the year to the lowest level for the period since 2009.

"As long as the dollar remains strong — we believe another couple of months — demand should stay soft and prices should trade rather range-bound," Julius Baer analyst Carsten Menke said in a note.

Among other precious metals, silver rose 0.1% to $15.32/oz and was on track for an eighth straight weekly decline, its longest weekly losing streak since at least late 2000.

Platinum added 0.2% to $823.49/oz while palladium ticked 0.3% higher to $914.50/oz.

Both the metals were, however, headed for weekly losses.