CHICAGO, March 1 (Xinhua) -- Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange fell for the third session in a row on Friday on a stronger dollar.
The most active gold contract for April delivery fell 5.8 dollars, or 0.37 percent, to settle at 1,572.3 dollars per ounce, the lowest level since July 18.
The dollar strengthened against the euro on disappointing data from Europe. The dollar index, a gauge of the greenback against a basket of currencies, rose to 82.329 on Friday from 81.959 late Thursday.
Investors are also watching for the automatic budget cuts for the U.S. federal government, set to kick in on Friday.
The recent rise of U.S. equities has also drawn some investors away from gold.
However, economic data released on Friday were positive for gold: China's manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index dipped to 50.1 in February from 50.4 in January; the U.S. Markit's manufacturing purchasing-managers index posted a reading of 54.3 in February, also down from 55.8 in January.
While the precious metal is still a great long-term investment choice, investors have been traumatized by a loss of 5.1 percent in February, market analysts pointed out.
Silver for May delivery rose 5.8 cents, or 0.2 percent, to close at 28.49 dollars per ounce. Platinum for April delivery fell 10 dollars, or 0.63 percent, to close at 1,573.5 dollars per ounce.