Gold dropped below $1,700 an ounce, alongside other commodities, on concern that a slowdown in China may crimp demand for raw materials.
The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Index of 24 raw materials slumped as much as 1.2 percent as the world’s second-largest economy had the biggest trade deficit last month in at least 22 years, the weakest January-February factory-production gain since 2009 and retail sales in the first two months of the year below the median economist estimate, according to government data.
“All commodities, including gold, have taken a hit because of China,” David Meger, the director of metal trading at Vision Financial Markets in Chicago, said in a telephone interview.
Gold futures for April delivery declined 0.7 percent to settle at $1,699.80 at 1:45 p.m. on the Comex in New York. Prices jumped 2.4 percent in the previous three sessions. The precious metal has climbed 8.5 percent this year.
Managed-money firms cut net-long positions in gold futures and options by 26 percent to 145,997 contracts in the week ended March 6, according to U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data. That’s the biggest reduction since August 2008.
The U.S. Federal Open Market Committee, which sets interest-rate policy, meets tomorrow.
“Market sentiment remains shaky,” Tobias Merath, head of commodity research at Credit Suisse Group AG’s private-banking unit, said in a report today. “This week’s FOMC meeting will be the next key event.”
Silver futures for May delivery fell 2.3 percent to $33.413 an ounce in New York. The metal slid 0.9 percent last week, the second straight drop.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, palladium futures for June delivery slumped 0.8 percent to $704.25 an ounce. Platinum futures for April delivery advanced 0.6 percent to $1,695.70 an ounce, rising for the fourth straight session, the longest winning streak since Feb. 23.