Gold / Silver / Copper futures - weekly outlook: July 27 - 31

New York (July 26)  Gold futures sank to the lowest level in more than five years on Friday, as ongoing expectations that the Federal Reserve will hike interest rates at its September policy meeting weighed.

Gold futures for August delivery on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange hit an intraday low of $1,072.30 a troy ounce, a level not seen since February 2010, before closing at $1,085.50, down $8.60, or 0.79%.

For the week, prices of the precious metal tumbled $44.80, or 4.08%, the fifth straight weekly loss.

Gold has been under heavy selling pressure in recent months amid speculation the Fed will raise interest rates for the first time in nine years as soon as September.

Expectations of higher borrowing rates going forward is considered bearish for gold, as the precious metal struggles to compete with yield-bearing assets when rates are on the rise.

Also on the Comex, silver futures for September delivery dropped 21.3 cents, or 1.45%, on Friday to settle at $14.48 a troy ounce. Silver prices lost 34.2 cents, or 2.33%, on the week, the fifth consecutive weekly decline.

Elsewhere in metals trading, copper for September delivery shed 0.3 cents, or 0.13%, on Friday to settle at $2.382 a pound after hitting a session low of $2.350, a level not seen since June 2009.

Copper sold off on Friday after private sector data showed that manufacturing activity in China slowed to a 15-month low in July, fueled fears over slackening demand for the industrial metal.

The preliminary reading of the Caixin/Markit manufacturing purchasing managers’ index fell to 48.2 from a final reading of 49.4 in June. It was the lowest reading since April 2014.

For the week, copper prices plunged 11.5 cents, or 4.57%, the fourth consecutive weekly fall, as concerns over the health of China's economy drove down prices.

The Asian nation is the world’s largest copper consumer, accounting for almost 40% of world consumption last year.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was at 97.34 late Friday, paring the week’s losses to 0.65%.

The dollar has been boosted by expectations that the U.S. central bank could raise rates as soon as September if the economy continues to improve as expected.

In the week ahead, market players will focus on the outcome of the Federal Reserve's highly-anticipated policy meeting on Wednesday as well as the release of preliminary second quarter growth data on Thursday.

Meanwhile, investors will continue to monitor progress in Greece’s €86 billion bailout negotiations. Athens is aiming for a deal by mid-August.

Ahead of the coming week, has compiled a list of these and other significant events likely to affect the markets.

Monday, July 27

The U.S. is to release data on durable goods orders.

Tuesday, July 28

The U.S. is to release a report on consumer confidence.

Wednesday, July 29

The U.S. is to report on pending home sales. Later Tuesday, the Federal Reserve is to announce its latest monetary policy decision and publish its rate statement.

Thursday, July 30

The U.S. is to produce preliminary data on second quarter growth and the weekly report on initial jobless claims.

Friday, July 31

The U.S. is to round up the week with revised data on consumer sentiment and a report on business activity in the Chicago region.