Goud aan het einde van de derde dalingsweek........
Gold dropped more than half a percent in volatile trade on Friday, heading for its third week of decline after shares fell in Asia and the U.S. dollar firmed, while persistent fears about the health of the global economy also dragged.
Bullion has fallen around 5 percent since hitting an 11-month high above $1,795 an ounce in early October after the excitement ignited by the U.S. Federal Reserve's latest program of purchasing mortgage-backed debt died down.
Although jewelers are likely to chase gold at around $1,700, the market will be volatile before the U.S. presidential election in early November.
Gold hit a high for the day at $1,714.65 an ounce before slipping to $1,702.96 by 0618 GMT, down $8.23. It dropped to a 7-week low around $1,698 on Wednesday, when the Fed said it was sticking to its plan to keep stimulating growth until the job market improved.
A stronger dollar dragged down gold prices and selling picked up after bullion failed to break through key resistance at $1,725 an ounce, said Ronald Leung, director of Lee Cheong Gold Dealers in Hong Kong.
"People are still looking a bit at the downside rather than the upside for the time being, waiting for it to break $1,700. Actually, there are too many longs in the market."
Dealers are also keeping an eye on the weekly U.S. CFTC commitment of traders figures due at 1930 GMT, after last week's data showed hedge funds and other big speculators cut their bullish bets on U.S. commodities to the lowest levels since the end of August.
U.S. gold for December fell $9.10 an ounce to $1,703.90.
Gold's recent decline has also been driven by uncertainty related to the so-called "fiscal cliff", automatic spending cuts and tax rises which threaten to send the country back into recession if Congress fails to reach a deficit reduction deal by the end of the year.
Even if a protracted period of negotiations injects a large level of uncertainty into the markets, that could benefit safe-haven assets such as U.S. Treasuries, and therefore the dollar, analysts say.
Investors were waiting for the release of U.S. third-quarter gross domestic product later in the day, which could set the tone for the dollar. The annualized rate of growth in the world's largest economy is seen at 1.9 percent, picking up from an anemic 1.3 percent.
"At least we have confirmed the bottom at $1,700. We traded once below that, just briefly, but it looks like after that, there's more buying than selling," said Yuichi Ikemizu, branch manager for Standard Bank in Tokyo.
"I don't think we are going to see more panic selling," said Ikemizu, adding that gold could trade in a range of $1,700 to $1,740 next week.
In other markets, shares and commodities slid on Friday, while the yen steadied as investors shunned risk on concerns over corporate earnings, with the region's exporters struggling against shrinking global demand.
The physical market was subdued because of a public holiday in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, but dealers noted purchases from Thailand.
"It's a mixture of buying and selling. There's light buying from Thailand and that's about it. Surprisingly, the demand from India is not there," said a dealer in Singapore, referring to the world's largest consumer.
"In fact, Indian consumers started to sell again when the market was a bit higher. Maybe they will leave it to the last minute before coming back to buy again."
The festival season, traditionally a time to buy gold, is underway in India and will peak with Dhanteras and Diwali next month. Weddings also take place during this period.
By Lewa Pardomuan