Gold settles near $1,315 on never-ending taper debate


Gold settled lower on Tuesday as the dollar firmed and a lack of clarity over U.S. monetary and fiscal policy dented demand.

The Federal Reserve surprised markets last week by sticking with a program of $85 billion in monthly asset purchases, confounding expectations for a $10 billion cut from September.

That triggered gains of around 4 percent in the gold price, but the metal has since fallen 3.2 percent over the past three sessions on renewed worries that the Fed could start making the cuts as soon as next month.

New York Fed President William Dudley has said that the U.S. central bank could still reduce its support for the economy later this year, while St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said that stimulus could be scaled back in October, depending on economic data.

"Gold is falling because markets are now expecting an improvement in the next U.S. labor market next week, which could lead to the Fed tightening, as the Fed's decision is data dependent," Quantitative Commodity Research owner Peter Fertig said.

Chart: Precious Metals

Spot gold edged up 0.3 percent to $1,325 an ounce, while for December delivery settled $10.70 lower at $1,315.30 an ounce.

Worries that money printing by central banks to buy assets will stoke inflation have helped boost the price of gold, which is often seen as an inflation hedge. The metal rallied to an 11-month high last October after the Fed announced its third round of aggressive economic stimulus.

Also weighing on the market on Tuesday was a slightly firmer dollar against a basket of currencies, which makes gold and other commodities priced in the U.S. currency more expensive for buyers in other countries.

U.S. data showed consumer confidence slid in September and that single-family home prices in July rose at a slightly slower pace than forecast. Traders said that the non-farm payrolls report for September on Oct. 4 will be crucial for the Fed's decision on stimulus.

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