Gold slipped below $1,600 an ounce on Thursday, as banks reopened in Cyprus for the first time in two weeks without signs of panic withdrawals, sapping demand for low-risk assets.
Reuters report yesterday showed that gold was down 0.5 percent to $1,597 an ounce by 1324 GMT. Spot prices were still set for a one percent gain in March, their first monthly rise in six months. U.S. gold futures for April delivery dropped 0.6 percent to $1,596.20 an ounce.
Gold hit a one-month high of $1,616.36 last week on concerns the $10 billion euro rescue deal for Cyprus, which will leave big depositors and private bondholders with huge losses, could become a template for future bank bailouts in the euro zone.
But a widespread perception that the Cypriot crisis would be contained put the metal on track for its second quarterly decline in a row and analysts were now anticipating sideways trading ahead of the Easter holiday break.
In euro terms, gold was headed for a monthly gain of around 3.5 percent, its best monthly performance since July, having peaked on Wednesday at its highest since Jan. 24 at 1,260.06 euros.
“With the Cyprus crisis unfolding we have seen gold crossing back above $1,600 but we haven’t tested the key technical resistance level at $1,620 as there wasn’t strong safe-haven inflows buying and prices have retreated,” Credit Suisse global head of commodity research Tobias Merath said. “We expect sideways trading around $1,600 as risk sentiment has not been retreating massively.”
The euro rebounded from earlier lows against the dollar and the Japanese yen and European equities gained on news Cypriots queued calmly at banks as they reopened under tight controls imposed on transactions to prevent a run on deposits.