By Peter Hobson
LONDON (Reuters) - Gold prices steadied on Wednesday after falling to their lowest since December as the dollar rallied to 2018 highs and U.S. bond yields sat near multi-year peaks.
Gold's declines were accelerated by technical selling as it crashed below its 200-day moving average and the psychologically significant $1,300-an-ounce mark.
Spot gold was flat at $1,289.86 an ounce by 1417 GMT, having gone as low as $1,286.20, its weakest since Dec. 27.
U.S. gold futures for June delivery were 0.1 percent down at $1,289.20.
"The slight pick-up suggests there might have been some opportunistic buying on the part of investors."
A stronger dollar hurts gold by making it more expensive for holders of other currencies, while higher bond yields make non-yielding bullion less attractive to investors.
The strong U.S. retail data also suggested that the Federal Reserve will be confident about raising U.S. interest rates. That is bad for gold because higher rates push up bond yields and tend to boost the dollar.
Gold is likely to fall to $1,275 by the end of June and $1,250 by the end of the year as U.S. yields and the dollar strengthen, said ABN AMRO analyst Georgette Boele. That is below the $1,310-$1,360 range gold has inhabited since January.
"It held up for so long on such a high level. Now you are below $1,300 and the 200-day moving average; people who hold long positions are a little bit nervous," she said.
Technical and momentum indicators suggested that gold could fall to about $1,278, ScotiaMocatta analysts said. Fibonacci support for the metal was at $1,287, they added.
Gold is traditionally used as a safe place to park assets during times of uncertainty, but investors largely disregarded news that North Korea could reconsider attending a planned summit between Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump next month.
In other precious metals, silver was up 0.4 percent at $16.30 an ounce after falling 1.6 percent on Tuesday.
Platinum eased by 0.2 percent to $891.40 and palladium gained 0.3 percent to $984.97.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)