Gold prices dip. Pessimism or Columbus Day quiet?

Gold prices fell on Monday as concerns over the global economic outlook and its impact on the coming corporate earnings season weighed on investor sentiment. But national holidays in the US and Japan were expected to limit trading activity and may have been partially responsible for the dip in gold prices.

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    Gold bars are seen at the US Mint at West Point in West Point, N.Y.,in this May 2012 file photo.Gold prices edged down 0.02 percent Monday.
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European stocks, oil and gold prices fell on Monday as concerns over the global economic outlook and its impact on the coming corporate earnings season weighed on investor sentiment.

The World Bank cut its estimate for East Asian growth including for China, and this has undone some of the positive sentiment that followed Friday's sharp drop in U.S. unemployment for September.

"The big bogeyman in the closet is China and everyone is trying to guesstimate if it's going to have a hard landing or a soft landing," said Philippe Gijsels, head of research at BNP Paribas Fortis Global Markets in Brussels.

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However, national holidays in Japan and the United States on Monday were expected to limit trading activity.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 was down 0.7 percent at 1,103.51 points in early trade with the German DAX down 0.8 percent despite data showing an unexpected jump in German exports during August.

Seasonally adjusted exports jumped 2.4 percent month-on-month, far outperforming expectations for a drop of 0.5 percent and beating even the highest forecast in a Reuters poll of 17 economists for a 0.5 percent rise.

"It is incredible how German exports are winning in such a tough environment," said DekaBank economist Andreas Scheuerle.

The signs of strength in Europe's biggest economy failed to help to the euro which was down 0.4 percent at $1.2975.

The fragile economic outlook saw Brent crude for November delivery fall 90 cents at $111.12 a barrel, while the gold price edged down 0.2 percent to $1,777.89 an ounce.

In Europe investors are also focused on a meeting of euro zone finance ministers later. They will formally launch the region's new permanent bailout fund and are expected to discuss the problems facing Spain and Greece.

But they are not expected to make major progress in solving the debt crisis so German government bond futures were ticking higher in early trade.

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