Gold prices have fallen as concerns about a further escalation of the US-China trade war boosted the US dollar, eroding bullion’s appeal as it tested a key technical support.

Spot gold was down 0.5 per cent at $US1,23.81 per ounce, having touched $US1,219.37 overnight, its lowest since October 18.

US gold futures settled down $US2.30, or 0.19 per cent, at $US1,225.3

The dollar climbed to a two and a half month high, supported by worries about an escalation of the US-China trade war.

‘Gold is not behaving as a safe-haven amidst news of the tariffs,’ said Walter Pehowich, executive vice president of investment services at Dillon Gage Metals.

‘As long as the dollar continues to stay up at these levels or go higher, gold will be under pressure,’ Pehowich said, adding he expects the metal to stay in the range of $US1,215 to $US1,235 until the US mid-term elections.

The midterm elections, on November 6, will determine whether the Republican or Democratic party controls the US Congress.

Gold prices have slipped around 10 per cent from their April peak as investors turned to the dollar as a safe-haven as the trade war unfolded against a backdrop of higher US interest rates.

A firmer dollar makes gold more expensive for holders of other currencies.

On the technical front, gold was testing support at the 100-day moving average around $US1,220.

‘If we drop back below the 100-day moving average, speculators could be inclined to add short positions again after they slashed them massively over the last two to three trading weeks,’ Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch said.

Gold prices, which have risen 2.8 per cent this month, were on track to break a six-month losing streak, the longest since a downturn from August 1996 through January 1997.

‘Market focus will shift to the US non-farm payrolls data release on Friday … Stronger-than-expected data could stall gold’s upward momentum,’ Standard Chartered analysts wrote in a note on Tuesday.

‘However, equity markets are playing a more dominant role in setting the tone of trading for gold in the near term, in our view.’

Volatile stock markets and covering of short positions by speculators, after they piled up record net shorts on COMEX gold, have helped gold recover from more than one and a half year lows touched in mid-August at $US1,159.96.

Investors’ inclination toward gold can be seen in the holdings of the largest gold-backed exchange-traded-fund, New York’s SPDR Gold Trust, which rose to their highest in two months, at 24.27 million ounces, on Monday.

In other precious metals, silver edged 0.3 per cent lower to $US14.44 per ounce, after slipping to a near three-week low of $US14.33.

Platinum gained 0.3 per cent to $US834.80, and palladium fell 1.7 per cent to $US1,069.80.