Gold eases on swift recovery bets as focus turns to Fed minutes

Key Points
  • Platinum eases after scaling over one-month peak.
  • Palladium hits a one week low of $2,592/oz.
Mariya Gordeyeva | Reuters

Gold prices fell on Wednesday a day after hitting a more than one-week peak, as strong economic data from the United States bolstered hopes of a swift recovery dimming the precious metal's appeal.

Spot gold fell 0.4% to $1,737.01 per ounce by 3:14 p.m. EDT (1914 GMT). U.S. gold futures settled 0.1% lower at $1,741.6.

"If we get continued strength in economic reports I think we are going to see much greater likelihood of interest rates increasing ... yields increasing. That ultimately is going to have negative impact on gold," said Jeffrey Sica, founder of Circle Squared Alternative Investments.

Non-yielding bullion is highly sensitive to higher rates, as they increase the opportunity cost of holding gold.

Data on Tuesday showed U.S. job openings rose to a two-year high in February, while strengthening domestic demand helped hiring amid increased COVID-19 vaccinations and additional pandemic aid from the government.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Federal Reserve remained cautious about the continuing risks of the coronavirus pandemic and committed to pouring on monetary policy support until a rebound was more secure, minutes of the central bank's March meeting showed.

"There's not much indicative of what they intend to do (with regards to interest rates) which makes it obvious that for any real clarity we have to wait and see what happens with economic news," Sica said.

The International Monetary Fund raised its outlook for global economic growth again on Tuesday, forecasting worldwide output would rise 6% this year, a rate not seen since the 1970s.

The S&P 500 added to gains, while the dollar index inched up after the Fed released the minutes.

Among other precious metals, silver fell 0.2% to $25.12 per ounce. Palladium was down 2.3% to $2,622.71 per ounce, having earlier hit a one week low of $2,592.

Platinum fell 0.6% to $1,225.39 per ounce, having earlier risen to $1,244.50, its highest since Feb. 25.