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Gold prices hit three-week low, strong dollar, Fed rate hike view weigh

LiveMint logoLiveMint 21-09-2017 Apeksha Nair

Gold prices dropped to its lowest level in over three weeks on Thursday as a stronger dollar and increasing prospects of a December rate hike by the US Federal Reserve curbed appetite for the metal.

Spot gold was down 0.1% at $1,299.31 an ounce at 8.56am, after earlier touching its lowest since late August at $1295.65. US gold futures for December delivery fell 1% to $1,302.60 an ounce.

The US dollar rose and bond yields jumped to their highest levels in six weeks after the Federal Reserve announced a plan to start shrinking its balance sheet in October and signalled one more rate hike later this year. The dollar on Thursday extended gains and inched up against a basket of currencies. It rose 0.2% versus the yen.

“The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) was surprisingly upbeat and (held) the line on rate hikes in 2017 and 2018 which has caught traders by surprise,” said Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst at OANDA.

The Fed’s announcement on another interest rate hike this year took markets by surprise as a series of poor inflation readings had dampened expectations for such a step. Higher interest rates tend to boost the dollar and push bond yields up, putting pressure on greenback-denominated, non-yielding bullion.

Elsewhere, the Bank of Japan kept monetary policy steady on Thursday and maintained its upbeat view of the economy, signalling its conviction a solid recovery will gradually accelerate inflation towards its 2% goal without additional stimulus.

“In the bigger picture, I still see the price action as corrective. It should base in this $1,280-$1,296 region. I see global uncertainty, diversification as continuing to underpin gold for now,” Halley said.

US allies on Wednesday said that enforcing international sanctions on North Korea, and not mere dialogue, was key to getting Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons after President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he would “totally destroy” the country if threatened and mocked its leader as a “rocket man”.

Geopolitical risks can boost demand for safe-haven assets such as gold. Spot gold may break support at $1,299 per ounce and fall more towards the next support level at $1,281, said Reuters technicals analyst Wang Tao.

In other precious metals, silver was down 0.3% at $17.08 an ounce, after falling to its lowest since 25 August in the previous session. Platinum eased 0.3% at $938 an ounce, after hitting its lowest since late July on Wednesday. Palladium was up 0.6% to $915.15 an ounce. Reuters

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