Gold prices edged lower Friday as a stronger dollar made the metal more expensive for non-U.S. buyers and some investors decided to book profits on what is shaping up to be a robust start to the year.
The Dollar Index, which measures the greenback against a basket of major rivals, rose 0.19 percent to 80.56. The euro declined, and all major European stock indexes were down.
The euro has risen more than two percent this week on successful bond auctions by Spain and Italy, as well as signs Greece may be near a deal with holders of its debt. Traders said Friday's early session decline in the euro stemmed from short-covering.
Crude oil prices slipped below $100 per barrel, which also weighed on gold prices.
So far this year gold prices are up more than seven percent.
Gold has had a fairly good run so far this year, maybe this is time to consolidate a little. A pause here would probably be a healthy sign. After that, I think the next move is likely to be up towards $1,680, Nick Trevethan, a senior commodity strategist at ANZ bank in Singapore, told Reuters.
There could be more gains ahead. UBS said Friday it expects the average price of gold this year to be $2,050 per troy ounce.
Gold for February delivery on the Comex was down $6.80 to $1,647.70, and gold for immediate delivery fell $17.40 to $1,647.08.
Silver for March delivery slipped nine cents to $30.42, while silver for immediate delivery declined 32 cents to $30.44.