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Futures & Commodities

Gold fears the Fed: Julius Baer

A Jordanian goldsmith places gold chains for display at his jewelry shop in Amman, Jordan.
Muhammad Hamed | Reuters

Gold prices have come under renewed pressure as the probability of a summer rate hike in the U.S. has risen of late, according to an analyst from Swiss private bank Julius Baer.

"A rebounding dollar and cooling futures market sentiment have pushed gold prices towards $1,200 per ounce," Carsten Menke, commodities research analyst at Julius Baer said in a note Tuesday.

"We maintain a neutral view on gold but believe that investors should continue to consider it as insurance to their portfolios against the backdrop of prevailing economic and financial market risks."

Bullion fell to a 3-1/2 month low Tuesday morning and is on the way to its biggest monthly decline since November on the back of broad strength in the dollar. On Tuesday morning, spot gold was up 0.5 percent to $1,211 per troy ounce after falling as much as 1 percent in Monday's trade to $1,199.60 an ounce, its lowest since February 17.

Menke expects the volatility to be elevated as we head towards Friday's U.S. labor market report. In his note, he explained that while the demand for gold in western economies continues to increase in May, emerging markets have seen a rather muted rise in demand.

"According to the Swiss trade data, traditional importers of gold such as Hong Kong have become exporters. While gold has been flowing from west to east in recent years, the trend appears to have reversed this year. Whether this is outright selling by emerging market investors or just represents a relocation of gold is very hard to tell. In any case, emerging market gold demand does not appear as strong anymore."

Gold has been under pressure ever since senior Federal Reserve speakers indicated a rate rise may be appropriate in the coming months. Last week, Fed Chair Janet Yellen said that an interest rate hike is "probably" appropriate in the coming months if economic data improve. This has added further pressure on the yellow metal that continues to decline.

However, Sandy Jadeja, chief markets strategist at SignalPro, told CNBC Tuesday that he is bullish gold short-term, especially amid an uncertain environment.

"I am looking at $1,300 (per ounce). Just recently it has popped above its 50-period moving average which is what technicians would keep an eye out for in the medium term. So that's supporting it," he said, adding an upside target of $1,420 per ounce. However, he warns that it is going to be a challenge once gold reaches that level.

"What's going to happen next? Are we going to see a strong continuation towards the upside? And that would probably occur if we see the indices fall down."

Gold is down nearly 6.3 percent so far in May, its biggest decline since November on the back of a stronger dollar Tuesday that hovered near its highest in two months against a basket of currencies.

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