Gold slides to 5-1/2 month low on dollar
LONDON: Gold hit its lowest level since late May on Friday as the dollar surged to a near 14-year high on expectations for a US rate hike next month and more infrastructure spending from the new Trump administration. The US currency is on track for its best fortnight since 1988 versus the yen, having hit its highest since early 2003 versus a currency basket as Donald Trump’s presidential win stoked talk of higher fiscal spending and tax cuts to jump-start the US economy. That weighed on gold, which is priced in dollars. Spot gold slid to its lowest since May 30 at $1,203.52 an ounce, and was down 0.8 percent at $1,205.76 an ounce.
US gold futures for December delivery were down $11.90 an ounce at $1,205.00, off a low of $1,201.30, its weakest since mid-February. “It’s all about expectations, and what markets expect is a large fiscal stimulus, mostly infrastructure spending, and for the Federal Reserve to be much more aggressive in hiking rates,” Capital Economics analyst Simona Gambarini said.
“That’s what’s being reflected in the (gold) price.” Spot prices have fallen nearly 2 percent this week and are more than $130 an ounce down from their post-election peak, hurt by the jump in the dollar and a surge in US Treasury yields.
US bond yields were set for the biggest fortnightly rise in 15 years yesterday on bets US inflation and interest rates are headed higher. That increased the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion. Fed chair Janet Yellen said on Thursday in congressional testimony that Trump’s election has done nothing to change the Fed’s plans for a rate increase “relatively soon”.
Holdings of the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Shares, fell another 5.6 tons on Thursday to their lowest since June. Holdings have fallen nearly 30 tons since the US election. “With the pressure that has been seen in gold prices since early November, total ETF holdings in gold have fallen to their lowest level since early July 2016,” ING said in a note. “Further outflows could put further pressure on gold prices.” Silver was down 1.1 percent at $16.47 an ounce, having earlier touched its lowest since June 8 at $16.44, while platinum was 0.5 percent lower at $925.80. Both metals were set for a second consecutive weekly decline. Palladium was down 1.9 percent at $713 an ounce, but was set to post a third weekly rise, of more than 6 percent. The metal has benefited from strength in industrial metals, on hopes that higher US infrastructure spending could boost demand.