Gold dips to near 6-year low

Chairperson Janet Yellen
Chairperson Janet Yellen

US Federal Reserve Chairperson Janet Yellen

Gold extended earlier losses to hit its lowest level since early 2010 on Thursday, under pressure from expectations that the US Federal Reserve is on track to raise interest rates next month for the first time in nearly a decade.

Spot gold breached technical support at its July’s low of $1,077 an ounce, falling 1 percent to $1,074.26, the lowest since Feb 11, 2010. The metal was down 0.9 percent at $1,075.85 an ounce by 1423 GMT.

US gold futures for December delivery dropped $9.30 an ounce at $1,075.80.

“We expect prices to fall a little bit further because of the anticipated rate hike by the Fed in December,” Capital Economics analyst Simona Gambarini said.

“Prices could fall to $1,050 by the end of the year.”

The metal has shed nearly 6 percent since the start of November, when an upbeat US jobs report boosted expectations the Fed will raise rates this year. That would lift the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion, while boosting the dollar.

“The Fed has been driving the bulk of the move down from around $1,200 to below $1,100,” Standard Chartered analyst Paul Horsnall said. “But ultimately, we think the Fed will become a positive for gold.”

“There has been so much concentration on when the first hike is coming, we don’t think the debate has moved on to when the second and third hikes will come. We don’t think there will be a third hike, and we think in fact the Fed will be in cutting mode by the end of next year. That’s very positive for gold.”

Traders will be eyeing remarks by at least six Fed officials, including Vice Chair Stanley Fischer, later for clues on monetary policy.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen, who opened a research conference on policy transmission and implementation after the 2007-2009 financial crisis on Thursday, did not comment on the rate hike timing or the US economy.

Investors remain wary of gold. Assets in the biggest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Shares GLD, fell to 663.43 tons this week, the lowest since September 2008.

Other precious metals followed gold lower, with silver down 0.7 percent at a fresh 2-1/2-month low of $14.17.

Palladium fell 2 percent to its lowest since August at $556.70 an ounce and platinum extended losses to $868.75, a near seven-year low.

Both platinum group metals have been hit by outflows from exchange-traded funds.

“The amount currently held in physically backed ETFs in platinum and palladium is still high and equivalent to 32 percent and 29 percent of global supply respectively,” Natixis analyst Bernard Dahdah said.

“Further outflows could take place and continue to hit prices.”


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