Gold price hits almost four-week low on comments by Federal Reserve

London (May 24)  Gold fell to a three-and-a-half-week low on Tuesday as hawkish comments from US Federal Reserve officials in the previous session sent the dollar to a two-month high against a currency basket.

The prospect of an early rate hike, as indicated by Fed meeting minutes released last week, and a strengthening dollar have pushed gold down nearly 4% so far in May, putting it on track for its biggest monthly decline since November.

Gold is highly sensitive to rising interest rates, which lift the opportunity cost of holding the nonyielding metal, while boosting the dollar, in which it is priced. Spot gold was down 0.5% at $1,242.95 an ounce at 9.25am GMT, while US gold futures for June delivery were down $7.90 an ounce at $1,243.60. "We had more hawkish noises yesterday, with a trio of Fed speakers lining up to say that June or July are live meetings for considering a rate increase," Societe Generale analyst Robin Bhar said. "The dollar’s in the ascendancy this morning, against the euro and the basket as well, and gold is coming under pressure.

"We’ve lost sight of the $1,250 level, which was holding things up pretty well. We’ll be looking to hold here — if not, we could get back to the low $1,200s."

Senior Fed officials on Monday said that rates being kept too low for too long could cause financial instability, and that the US central bank would continue with rate increases next year.

The Fed’s policy makers are scheduled to speak this week and are expected to back the case for a rate hike within months. Fed chair Janet Yellen will be at a panel event hosted by Harvard University on Friday.

Holdings in the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Shares, rose 0.38% to 872.52 tonnes on Monday. "There appears to be good demand for gold at $1,243-$1,244 so it will be interesting to see whether this level will prove to be a triple bottom," MKS said in a note.

"If it does break through convincingly, there could be a fresh wave of liquidation."

Meanwhile, silver was down 0.5% at $16.24 an ounce, after earlier hitting a five-week low of $16.19, while platinum was flat at $1,005.50 per ounce, off a four-week low of $1,000.50. Palladium was down 0.7% at $544.78 an ounce, having hit a near six-week trough of $541.75 earlier in the session.

Source: bdLive