Gold retreats as robust US data lifts dollar; focus on Fed

Production of gold at Krastsvetmet precious metals plant in Krasnoyarsk

By Deep Kaushik Vakil

(Reuters) - Gold prices edged lower on Monday as the dollar rose after better-than-expected U.S. manufacturing data, while markets await the Federal Reserve's interest rate hike decision this week.

Spot gold was down 0.4% at $1,982.20 per ounce by 1:55 p.m. ET (1755 GMT), reversing nearly 1% gains made earlier in the session.

U.S. gold futures settled down 0.3% at $1,992.20.

U.S. manufacturing pulled off a three-year low in April as new orders improved slightly and employment rebounded, while construction spending increased more than expected in March, boosted by investments in nonresidential structures.

The stronger-than-expected data knocked down the metals market and boosted the dollar a little bit, said Jim Wyckoff, senior analyst at Kitco Metals.

The dollar index gained 0.5%, making greenback-priced bullion less attractive for overseas buyers.

In early U.S. trading hours, gold prices rebounded to touch $2,005 as traders took stock of news that JPMorgan Chase & Co would buy most of First Republic Bank's assets after regulators seized the troubled lender over the weekend.

"The move was definitely premature ... we used some of that opportunity to try and capitalize on taking some positions off on that move upwards," said Phillip Streible, chief market strategist at Blue Line Futures, in Chicago.

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will meet on May 2-3, and markets largely expect a 25-basis point interest rate hike.

Investors will also focus on Fed Chair Jerome Powell's press conference to assess if the central bank commentary pushes back market expectations of rate cuts before the year-end amid the recent banking turmoil and threats of an imminent recession.

While gold is known as an inflation hedge, rising rates tend to lower demand for zero-yielding bullion.

Spot silver fell 0.2% to about $25 per ounce, platinum lost 2.2% to $1,050.83, while palladium shed 3.2% to $1,452.57.

(Reporting by Deep Vakil in Bengaluru; Editing by Shilpi Majumdar and Shounak Dasgupta)