Gold bars. Picture: REUTERS
Gold bars. Picture: REUTERS

Bengaluru — Gold fell on Monday after better-than-expected manufacturing data from China assuaged fears of a slowdown in global growth while deficit-ridden autocatalyst metal palladium soared to a record high.

Spot gold was down 0.4% to $1,457.98/oz by 11.31am GMT. US gold futures fell 0.6% to $1,463.90/oz.

Data showing growth in factory activity during November in China, the world's second-largest economy and biggest gold consumer, pushed up equity markets.

“At least in the short-term, this kind of data will keep gold prices in check,” said Julius Baer analyst Carsten Menke.

Gold is considered a safe store of value at times of political or economic uncertainty. Demand for the metal was further pressured by the rising dollar, making dollar-denominated bullion more expensive for buyers using other currencies.

On the US-China trade front, reports said a preliminary agreement has now stalled because of US legislation supporting protesters in Hong Kong and Chinese demands that Washington roll back its tariffs. Gold has risen more than 13% in 2019 mainly due to the trade dispute driving demand for safe assets.

“Nothing particularly has really changed [on the trade front] from last week, the market remains in the dark about how things will progress. Investor appetite for gold is just waning a little bit on lack of direction,” ANZ analyst Daniel Hynes said.

Pointing to lingering growth concerns, eurozone manufacturing activity contracted for a 10th straight month in November, IHS Markit's final manufacturing purchasing managers index (PMI) showed. Gold could move up in the medium to longer-term as fears of a slowdown still exist, Julius Baer's Menke said.

Investors now await manufacturing data from the US later in the day. Palladium was up 0.3% at $1,847.08, having surged to a record high of $1,851. The metal has risen about 46% in 2019.

“The rising prices for the scarcity-hit metal have attracted a lot of carmakers who are getting cold feet. These people have taken forward positions in anticipation that prices will go even higher in the future,” Commerzbank analyst Eugen Weinberg said.

Chiefly used in vehicle exhausts to reduce harmful emissions, platinum is favoured for diesel engines and palladium is preferred for petroleum. Tightening emissions regulations are putting more palladium in each vehicle, supporting consumption even as weakening global growth hits vehicle sales.

Elsewhere, silver fell 0.8% to $16.88/oz, platinum was down 0.9% at $892/oz.