By Nakul Iyer
-Dollar firms near multi-month highs
-Swiss gold exports to China ease (Recasts, adds comment and updates prices)
July 20 (Reuters) – Gold was subdued in volatile trade on Tuesday as the dollar strengthened, curbing inflows into the safe-haven metal despite some concerns over a surge in COVID-19 cases.
Spot gold was little changed at $1,811.51 per ounce by 1733 GMT, while U.S. gold futures settled up 0.1% to $1,811.40.
“We’ve seen volatility in gold pick up quite a bit and that has knocked out some of the long positions,” said Bart Melek, head of commodity strategies at TD Securities, also attributing gold’s decline to a weaker dollar.
The U.S. dollar scaled a 3-1/2-month high, denting gold’s allure.
A surge in coronavirus cases in the United States and other countries however spurred some safe-haven buying of bullion in recent sessions, with gold rebounding as much as 1.7% from Monday’s one-week trough.
“A lot of people in the gold market have taken their eyes off the ball this year, but if we get more bad news on the COVID front and equities weaken, you could get just that flight- to-safety buy in a market that can wake up pretty quick,” said Bob Haberkorn, senior market strategist at RJO Futures.
Meanwhile, data on Tuesday showed Swiss gold exports to India edged higher last month, while shipments to mainland China fell.
“Physical demand has scope to buffer the downside for gold as central banks remain net buyers and in light of pent up consumer demand as India’s stores reopen,” said Suki Cooper, analyst at Standard Chartered.
Elsewhere, platinum fell 0.4%, to $1,070.46 per ounce, while palladium rose 1.9% to $2,645.30.
This quarter could be the least supportive quarter for platinum and palladium group metals as supply returns and U.S. and European auto production slows due to semiconductor shortages, Cooper said.
Silver shed 1% to $24.96. (Reporting by Nakul Iyer in Bengaluru, additional reporting by Arpan Varghese; Editing by Paul Simao and Chizu Nomiyama)