Gold inched up on Friday as the euro rose against the dollar, but was on track for its biggest weekly fall since November on receding political risks in France and expectations of a U.S. rate rise as early as June.
Spot gold rose 0.1 percent to $1,228.31 per ounce as of 0105 GMT, after touching 1,225.20 on Thursday, its lowest since March 17. Gold was poised to end the week down over 3 percent, the biggest percentage fall since the week ending Nov. 11.
U.S. gold futures were steady at $1,228.60 an ounce. The euro traded near a six-month high against the dollar on Friday, supported by expectations that centrist Emmanuel Macron will win France’s presidential election.
Asian stocks are set for a third straight day of losses on Friday as a retreat in crude oil and other commodities prices knocked global sentiment. New applications for U.S. jobless benefits fell sharply last week and the number of Americans on unemployment rolls hit a 17-year low, pointing to a tightening labor market that could allow the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates next month.
Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell 0.03 percent to 853.08 tonnes on Thursday.
Central bank gold demand hit its lowest in nearly six years in the first quarter as Chinese buying dried up, the World Gold Council said in a report on Thursday, feeding into an 18 percent year-on-year drop in overall demand.
Gold demand in India could be muted in the second half of 2017, as the rollout of a new national sales tax from July is expected to dent appetite in the world’s second-biggest consumer, the World Gold Council (WGC) said on Thursday.
The Russian central bank increased holdings of gold in its international reserves in 2016, while cutting on share of the euro and the pound, the bank’s data showed late on Wednesday. Russia produced 31.01 tonnes of gold in January and February this year, down from 33.25 tonnes in the same period last year, the finance ministry said on Thursday.
Randgold Resources reported falls in first-quarter profit and production on Thursday hurt by labour strikes but the miner said it remained on track to meet its annual targets. South Africa gold and platinum producer Sibanye SGLJ.J said on Thursday its gold production in the first quarter of 2017 fell 9 percent.
(Reporting by Swati Verma in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard Pullin)