Futures & Commodities

Gold dips to near 6-year low, under pressure from Fed

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Gold fell to its lowest level since early 2010 on Thursday, under pressure from expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve is on track to raise interest rates next month for the first time in nearly a decade.

breached technical support at its July low of $1,077 an ounce, falling 1 percent to $1,074.26, the lowest since February 2010 and the eleventh day of losses out of the last 12. It was down 0.2 percent at $1,083.60 an ounce.

U.S. gold futures for December delivery settled down $3.90 an ounce at $1,081.00.

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"We expect prices to fall a little bit further because of the anticipated rate hike by the Fed in December," Capital Economics analyst Simona Gambarini said.

The metal has shed more than 5 percent since the start of November, when an upbeat U.S. jobs report boosted expectations the Fed will raise rates this year. That would lift the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion, while boosting the dollar.

"There has been so much concentration on when the first hike is coming, we don't think the debate has moved on to when the second and third hikes will come," Standard Chartered analyst Paul Horsnall said.

"We don't think there will be a third hike, and we think in fact the Fed will be in cutting mode by the end of next year. That's very positive for gold."

Fed Chair Janet Yellen opened a conference on Thursday but did not comment on the rate hike timing or the U.S. economy.

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Several other Fed officials spoke separately, with New York Fed President William Dudley saying that waiting for inflation to pick up before quickly tightening monetary policy heightens the risk of an economic hard landing.

"Our above-consensus Fed call should push gold prices towards $1,000 per ounce this year and $900 per ounce in 2016 mainly because of investor position liquidation," said ABN Amro in a note.

Assets in the biggest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Shares, fell to the lowest since September 2008.

Silver was down 0.7 percent at a fresh 2-1/2-month low of $14.17. Palladium fell 3 percent to its lowest since late-August at $555.25 an ounce and platinum extended losses to $868.75, a near seven-year low. Both platinum group metals have been hit by outflows from exchange-traded funds.

"The amount currently held in physically backed ETFs in platinum and palladium is still high and equivalent to 32 percent and 29 percent of global supply respectively," Natixis analyst Bernard Dahdah said.