May 2, 2016
Gold Firm Near 15-Month Top as Dollar Extends Losses
(Reuters) - Gold traded near a 15-month peak on Monday as a tumble in the dollar and weakness in global equities pushed up the metal to near $1,300 an ounce.
Spot gold was little changed at $1,292.27 an ounce by 0322 GMT, after climbing to $1,296.11 on Friday, the highest level since January 2015.
U.S. gold futures rose 0.3 percent to $1,294.50.
They hit a 15-month top of $1,299 in the previous session before paring some gains.
"With the majority of Asia out today and London on holiday tonight we are expecting a range-bound session. However as gold trades towards $1,300, days of thin liquidity can throw up surprises," said MKS Group trader Sam Laughlin.
Several markets are shut on Monday for the Labour Day holiday.
The U.S. dollar slumped to an 18-month low against the yen.
The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, fell for a sixth straight session to hit an eight-month low.
Last week, the dollar had logged its biggest weekly percentage decline against the yen since the 2008 financial crisis in the aftermath of the Bank of Japan's decision not to ease policy further.
Asian shares fell in early trading on Monday, with Japan's Nikkei plunging 4 percent. Stocks in Europe and Wall Street eased on Friday as earnings disappointed.
Gold was also underpinned by weak U.S. economic data that supported the Federal Reserve's cautious stance on higher U.S. interest rates. The central bank's policy statement released last week was viewed as largely dovish.
Bullion is sensitive to rising interest rates, which lift the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion, while boosting the dollar.
INTL FCStone analyst Edward Meir said funds will continue to sell the dollar, at least during the first half of May, buoying gold.
"In addition, gold tipped into breakout territory on Friday, meaning that we likely will see more technical buying ... and perhaps see an eventual monthly high of $1,375," said Meir.
Data on Friday showed hedge funds and money managers cut their net long position in gold futures and options in the week to April 26.
They added to their bullish stance in COMEX silver for the third straight week, taking it to a record high.
Silver eased 0.2 percent to $17.78, not far from a 15-month top of $17.958 reached on Friday.