×

Gold eases after 4-day gain, awaiting signal on US rates

Gold
Getty Images

Gold eased on Wednesday as a rebound in stocks and the dollar arrested a four-day rise, with uncertainty over the timing of a looming U.S. rate hike limiting price moves ahead of key U.S. non-farm payrolls data on Friday.

The metal retreated from early highs as global stock indexes recovered some of their recent losses, drawing support from reports of brokerage measures in China to invigorate the country's battered markets.

Gold also came under pressure from the 0.4 percent rise of the dollar index.

Spot gold was down 0.5 percent at $1,133.61 an ounce, while U.S. gold futures for December delivery settled down 0.5 percent at $1,133.60.

"We have to wait until we actually see the payrolls numbers this Friday," Capital Economics analyst Simona Gambarini said. "We don't really expect much movement in the gold price (ahead of that). Investors are just waiting on the sidelines to see what the Fed will decide."

Traders remain wary of taking up fresh positions until they receive more clarity on when the Fed will press ahead with its first rate hike in nearly a decade.

Low interest rates cut the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion while also pressuring the dollar.

The Fed has pegged the likelihood of a rate rise to the strength of U.S. data. The August U.S. non-farm payrolls report on Friday is being closely watched, Mitsubishi analyst Jonathan Butler said.

"Attention will inevitably turn to the fact that December is now looking the most likely for lift-off on rates, and maybe the market will start to price that in," he said.

Read MoreGold up as dollar, shares fall on China worries

Data on Wednesday suggested that labor market momentum likely remains strong enough for the Fed to consider an interest rate hike this year.

Of the precious metals, palladium has been the most volatile and rose 3.4 percent to a session high at $586.50 an ounce after Tuesday's 5.3 percent tumble.

ABN Amro analyst Georgette Boele said in a note that palladium prices should drop further this year, forecasting $525 at the end of 2015, though downward pressure was seen easing.

"Autocatalyst demand from emerging markets, especially China and Brazil, will remain weak. We expect the trend in weaker car sales in China to continue into the first half of 2016," Boele said.

Among other precious metals, silver was up 0.5 percent at $14.64 an ounce and platinum was up 1 percent at $1,010.24.