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PRECIOUS-Gold slumps as rising U.S. yields, dollar dull lustre
Published at 26/02/2021 at 18:56

* Gold down over 6% for the month

* U.S. consumer spending rebounds in January

* Silver set for first monthly fall in three

* Palladium, platinum set for monthly gain

(Adds comment, chart, updates prices)

By Brijesh Patel

Feb 26 (Reuters) - Gold tumbled 3% to an eight-month low on Friday en route to its worst month since November 2016 as a stronger dollar and elevated U.S. Treasury yields hammered non-yielding bullion's appeal.

Spot gold was down 2.5% at $1,726.31 per ounce by 1:34 p.m. ET (1834 GMT), after touching $1,716.85, its lowest since June 2020. Bullion is down 6.4% so far this month.

U.S. gold futures settled 2.6% lower at $1,728.80.

"Rising 10-year yields, along with the U.S. dollar moving higher, and we had a resurgence in risk appetite. All that was a very bad recipe for gold," said Bart Melek, head of commodity strategies at TD Securities.

U.S. 10-year Treasury yields held near their highest in over a year, while the dollar index also jumped.

U.S. Treasury yields have risen more than 50 basis points so far this year, eroding gold's status as an inflation hedge since that translates into higher opportunity costs to hold bullion.

"Gold is in trouble once more and the near-term outlook isn't looking great," OANDA analyst Craig Erlam said in a note.

"Rising yields and now a jump in the dollar are piling the pressure on gold and, barring a reversal in bond markets, it's tough to envisage its fortunes improving."

Other metals were also caught in gold's slipstream, with silver shedding 3.9% to $26.34 an ounce, poised for its first monthly decline in three, down 2.5% so far in February.

Palladium declined 3.3% to $2,321.15, while platinum

fell 2.8% to $1,182.34. However, both auto catalyst metals were headed for a monthly gain.

Meanwhile, January data showed U.S. consumer spending increased by the most in seven month.

While these numbers discourage some safe-haven buying "the trillions (in stimulus) that have been printed have to get into the system and interest rates are expected to stay low, which should help gold and silver down the road," said Bob Haberkorn, senior market strategist at RJO Futures.

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(Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Richard Chang)

((Brijesh.Patel1@thomsonreuters.com; Within U.S. +1 651 848 5832, Outside U.S. +91 8067493865; Reuters Messaging: Brijesh.Patel1.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))