×

Gold edges higher on U.S. election nerves

PROSPECTING GOLD
AP

Gold edged higher on Thursday in response to a lower dollar and also uncertainty about the outcome of a tight U.S. presidential race.

Democrat Hillary Clinton maintained her narrow lead over Republican rival Donald Trump just days ahead of the Nov. 8 election, according to two polls released on Thursday.

This helped the dollar to recover from multi-week lows, although it remained 0.1 percent lower against a basket of six main currencies.

"Risk-off sentiment has helped gold above $1,300 yesterday ... and as long as uncertainty around the outcome of U.S. elections continues, we can see support," Saxo Bank head of research Ole Hansen said.

Spot gold were up 0.32 percent to $1,300.75 an ounce at 2:58 pm EDT. It touched a one-month high of $1,307.76 in the previous session, before retreating as Federal Reserve signaled it could raise interest rates next month.

The Fed kept rates unchanged on Wednesday, but said the economy had gathered steam and job gains remained solid.

Policymakers also expressed more optimism that inflation was moving toward their 2 percent target.

U.S. gold futures settled at $1,300.30 per ounce.

"The fact that the Fed made some hawkish comments opening up to a rate increase in December could be seen as a negative for gold," Mitsubishi Corp analyst Jonathan Butler said.

Gold is highly sensitive to rising rates, which lift the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding assets, while also boosting the dollar, in which the metal is priced.

"But the narrowing of the polls between Clinton and Trump is more important in terms of gold's positioning this week. We could see more gains before Tuesday, as the dollar retreats and safe havens such us the Japanese yen or the Swiss franc increase."

The market will now focus on non-farm payrolls data, which will be released on Friday.

Employers are expected to have added 175,000 jobs in October, according to the median estimate of 106 economists polled by Reuters.

"Even bad data won't change the idea of a rate hike as the Fed has shown that there is a high probability for a rate hike in December," Jiang Shu of Shandong Gold Group said.

Among other precious metals, silver fell 1.1 percent to $18.23, retreating from a high of about $18.73 on Wednesday, its best level since Oct. 4.

Platinum was up 0.6 percent at $991.40. Palladium dropped 0.8 percent to $623.25.