The euro also saw some modest pressure on sentiment after a final euro-zone composite purchasing managers index reading for February came in weaker than initially estimated, underlining worries the regions economy is on track to contract for a second straight quarter. Read Market Pulse on euro-zone PMI.
Meanwhile, worries that Greeces debt swap won't attract sufficient volunteers is also a negative factor for the euro, strategists said. Failure to see investors tender around 90% of outstanding, privately-held bonds by Thursday could see the triggering of clauses that would force all private investors to participate in the write-down effort.
That, in turn, would likely be ruled a â€œcredit event by an international derivatives body, triggering the payout of derivative instruments known as credit default swaps, strategists said.
The prospect of a payout on the swaps is little reason for a selloff, noting that net exposure appears manageable and is unlikely to fan contagion fears.
Although extreme risk aversion was a key factor lifting gold last year at a time when the dollar was strengthening, it has since reestablished its usual inverse relationship to the U.S. unit as investor appetite for the dollar as a safe haven outweighed that for gold, and as panic in the markets subsided.
From a technical perspective, analysts said gold is vulnerable to further losses after last week's rout, particularly if prices break through $1,690 an ounce. Gains in the dollar, which make commodities priced in the U.S. currency more expensive for holders of other currencies, are pressuring the metal.