Lack of interest sees gold price back below $1,300

The price of gold fell back below the 1,300 an ounce level after traders booked profits on Friday's brief post US jobs-numbers rally.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for June delivery in late afternoon trade exchanged hands for $1,296.90 an ounce, down close to $7 compared to Friday's close.

Volume was noticeably thin with 70,000 contracts traded, compared to average daily volumes on the exchange of around 200,000.

Reuters quotes Jonathan Jossen, a COMEX gold options floor trader, as saying "investors are not taking any interest in the precious metals right now, and gold and silver are definitely in tight trading ranges."

Shanghai's gold exchange was also closed on Monday for the Qingming public holiday.

On Friday data showed the US economy created fewer jobs than predicted – the Fed's key measure in deciding interest rates – meaning that the Fed's economic stimulus program could stay in place longer than anticipated.

Monetary expansion across developed economies, particularly since the financial crisis, has been a massive boon for the gold price, burnishing the metal's reputation as an inflation hedge and storer of wealth.

Gold was trading around $830 an ounce when previous chairman Ben Bernanke announced QE1 in November 2008.

Ross Norman, CEO of bullion brokers Sharps Pixley, one of the original members of the London Gold Fix, on the sidelines of the Dubai gold conference predicted a rise in the gold price on the basis of the ratio between crude oil and the yellow metal.