Gold is headed for the first monthly decline since May as investors price in the prospect of higher U.S. borrowing costs by the end of the year and slowing purchases of bullion-backed exchange-traded funds.
Bullion for immediate delivery was 0.2 percent higher at $1,313.05 an ounce at 2:47 p.m. in Singapore, according to Bloomberg generic pricing. The metal dropped to $1,309.34 on Tuesday, the lowest level since June 28, and is down 2.8 percent this month.
Gold’s drop this month would be the first for August since 2009, as the metal generally climbs on jewelry demand ahead of the wedding and festival season in India, the top consumer along with China. The pullback has followed hawkish comments by Federal Reserve officials, which have increased bets on monetary tightening and boosted the dollar.
Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer said Tuesday incoming economic data will determine the trajectory of interest-rate increases and expressed optimism that productivity growth will rebound. This follows his comments last week which signaled a possible September increase. A gauge of the greenback is up 0.6 percent this month.
“Gold is coming under pressure” because of increasing signs that the Fed is going to raise rates this year, Bernard Aw, a Singapore-based strategist at IG Asia Pte, said by e-mail. “While one would have thought that Fischer’s third appearance in 10 days would have dulled the impact of his comments, markets are still reacting to his jawboning that the Fed is data-dependent. This lined up the upcoming U.S. data as trading fodder for market participants.”
Investors are now looking to Friday’s nonfarm payrolls report to shed further light on the strength of the U.S. economy and the timing of a rate hike.
Traders have priced in a 34 percent probability the Fed will move next month, from 18 percent at the beginning of August, while odds of an increase in December are at 59 percent. Holdings in gold ETFs rose about 25 metric tons this month, the smallest gain in 2016.
• In China, bullion of 99.99 percent purity fell 0.4 percent to 282.80 yuan a gram ($1,316.58 an ounce) on the Shanghai Gold Exchange.
• On the Shanghai Futures Exchange, gold for December delivery dropped 0.4 percent to 283.45 yuan a gram, while silver rose 0.2 percent to 4,168 yuan a kilogramme
• Spot silver climbed 0.6 percent to $18.7090 an ounce, paring the monthly drop to 8 percent.
• Platinum has fallen 7.8 percent in August and palladium 3.6 percent.