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Gold Adds to 2018 Losses on Speculative Selling, Rising Greenback

August 6, 2018 at 16:34 by Andrew Moran

Gold futures are starting off the trading week in the red, adding to their 2018 losses. In addition to a rising US dollar, the yellow metal is taking a hit from speculative selling, as well as a potential trade escalation between the US and China.

December gold futures tumbled $4.30, or 0.35%, to $1,218.90 per ounce at 16:07 GMT on Monday. Gold prices have been slumping to one-year lows, and they recently posted a weekly loss of 0.5%. Year-to-date, the precious metal has fallen more than 8%.

Silver prices are also taking a dip to kick off the trading week. September silver futures shed $0.10, or 0.66%, to $15.36 an ounce. The sister commodity to gold has cratered in 2018, slipping more than 10%. The white metal, too, posted a weekly loss of 0.3% last week.

Gold stumbled out of the gate on a rising US dollar as the greenback jumped 0.1% to 95.31. A strengthening buck is bad for dollar-pegged commodities because they make it more expensive for foreign investors to purchase.

A whole host of recent news events has propelled the dollar and impacted the metal commodity.

On Friday, the Department of Labor reported that the US economy added 157,000 jobs in July, bringing the unemployment rate to 3.9%. Most of the jobs were found in professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, manufacturing, education, and construction.

On the same day, China threatened to slap tariffs on $60 billion worth of US goods, ranging from 5% to 25%, which would be in addition to the levies on $50 billion of US products. The White House has repeatedly warned that it would impose tariffs on all goods coming into the US from Beijing.

In a surprise to conventional wisdom, the trade war between the world’s two biggest economies has not affected the greenback, which is up roughly 3% so far in 2018. This is largely in part to investors purchasing the currency as a safe-haven asset, something that is typically reserved for precious metals.

In recent weeks, hedge funds and money managers have been shorting gold at record levels.

Analysts note that gold may have more long-term upside, particularly as US debt levels continue to post record highs. With the fiscal year coming to a close, the federal budget deficit is projected to top $1 trillion, increasing the national debt to $22 trillion.

The rest of the metals market is seeing a wave of red. September copper futures dipped $0.03, or 1.01%, to $2.73 per pound. September platinum futures dropped $10.20, or 1.22%, $826.70 an ounce. September palladium futures slid $4.70, or 0.52%, to $903.2 per ounce.

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