Futures & Commodities

Gold trades in tight range, investors wary about US rates

Key Points
  • Gold prices fluctuated in trading Monday.
  • Many investors seemed wary of the upcoming data following unexpectedly strong jobs numbers on Friday, traders said.
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Gold prices alternated between gains and losses on Monday, failing to gain support from a weaker dollar as investors digested sharp losses in the previous session and worried about further U.S. rate hikes.

Spot gold was up just 0.03 percent at $1,258.21 per ounce, after briefly dipping lower. On Friday, it touched its lowest in just under two weeks at $1,254 an ounce and registered its first weekly decline in four.

U.S. gold futures for December delivery settled at $1264.70 per ounce.

The dollar weakened on Monday following sharp gains the previous session, as investors focused on inflation data due this week that could determine the currency's longer-term trajectory. Usually a weaker dollar supports commodities such as gold that are priced in the greenback, lowering the cost for buyers outside the United States.

Many investors, however, seemed wary of the upcoming data following unexpectedly strong jobs numbers on Friday, traders said.

"Investors were quick to liquidate some long positions, with market pricing of another rate hike by the Fed rising slightly as a consequence," said ANZ Research in a note.

In coming weeks gold may get a boost if U.S. politicians opt for a "clean" raising of the debt ceiling, without linking it to spending or tax provisions, said analyst Tom Kendall at ICBC Standard Bank.

"If the Republicans push for an easy, light version of the debt ceiling legislation, it has implications for the U.S. deficit and that will feed back into another positive story for gold," Kendall said.

"But whether that is sufficiently positive to get it up through $1,300, I'm not sure. I suspect we'll need something else as well alongside it."

Gold has largely been trapped in a broad range between $1,200 and $1,300 this year. Also eroding support for gold on Monday was rise by world equities to record highs following better-than-expected company earnings and economic data from the United States. Gold is used as an alternative investment during times of political and financial uncertainty that pressure other asset classes.

"We think gold is going to trade in a very tight range because of the low level of liquidity in the market due to the holidays (in Asia)," said Richard Xu, a fund manager at China's biggest gold exchange-traded fund HuaAn Gold.

In other precious metals, silver rose was unchanged at $16.23 per ounce, hitting Friday's two-week low.

Platinum climbed 0.68 percent to $966 per ounce, after hitting its highest since late April at $970.10 in the previous session. It gained over 3.2 percent last week, its highest since early January.

Palladium rose 1.04 percent to $886.10 per ounce.