MANILA (Sept 2): Gold edged lower on Wednesday with appetite for the metal soured by a firmer dollar despite weaker Asian equities, and failure to breach a key resistance and a looming U.S. rate hike suggest more downside risk.
Asian stocks sagged after sharp overnight losses on Wall Street, fed by worries over weak Chinese manufacturing data. Chinese stocks fell again despite pledges by a number of brokerages to increase their stock investment to support the market.
Spot gold was down 0.2% at $1,138.01 an ounce by 0301 GMT, after touching a one-week high of $1,147.16 on Tuesday.
Gold has failed to convincingly breach the $1,145 resistance even in the face of a 3% slide in U.S. stocks on Tuesday, said Howie Lee, analyst at Phillip Futures in Singapore.
"This suggests that in the short term, stock market meltdown or no meltdown, gold prices are unwilling to move above $1,145 (and) it will take a way stronger catalyst, say a very weak nonfarm payrolls number this Friday, to substantially bring prices (higher)," Lee wrote in a note to clients.
A U.S. private employment report later in the day could give a rough guide on the wider nonfarm payrolls data on Friday.
Some economists say strong employment growth in August could help cement expectations that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade at its next meeting on Sept 16-17.
Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren said the U.S. central bank will probably only gradually raise interest rates, irrespective of whether it decides to take the first step a few months earlier or later.
Non-interest bearing gold has been hit by a looming hike in U.S. interest rates, shifting funds to the dollar. But some analysts say the dollar could also be prone to profit-taking when the Fed does raise rates, which should support gold.
Tuesday marked spot gold's fourth day of gains, but technical analysts at ScotiaMocatta said "it is hard to get too bullish considering the falls are more significant than the bounces."
"We believe this is a consolidation situation with only a breach of $1,168 bringing in fresh buying," they said.
U.S. gold for December delivery slipped 0.2% to $1,138 per ounce.
Spot silver dropped 0.3% to $14.53 an ounce, palladium gained 0.6% to $570.75 and platinum rose 0.2% to $1,002.70.