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Gold Falls on Firm Dollar, Poised for First Weekly Gain in a Month

September 21, 2018 at 16:18 by Andrew Moran

Gold futures are sliding at the end of the trading week, but they are on track for their first weekly gain in a month. The yellow metal is shedding its value on a strengthening US dollar, buoyed by next week’s central bank meeting where policymakers are widely expected to raise interest rates and update its policy outlook for 2020 and 2021.

December gold futures tumbled $10.00, or 0.83%, to $1,201.30 per ounce at 15:49 GMT on Friday. Gold prices are poised for a weekly gain of 0.25%, the first weekly jump in four weeks. But the yellow metal, which has fallen 10% so far in 2018, has been hovering around the $1,200 threshold since the middle of August.

The sister commodity to gold, silver, is rallying to close the trading week. December silver futures rose $0.055, or 0.38%, to $14.36 an ounce. The white metal is getting ready to record an impressive 2% weekly gain, though it is still down 17% on the year.

The gold-silver ratio, a measurement of the number of silver ounces needed to purchase an ounce of gold, is standing at an all-time high of 83. The widening gap is sending traders into the white metal because of its better value.

Metal commodities are either taking a hit or seeing their gains capped on a stronger greenback. The US dollar surged 0.39% to 94.26, but it will be down 0.7% for the week. A stronger buck is bad for commodities priced in dollars because it makes it more expensive for foreign investors to buy.

The Federal Reserve is playing a role in the dollar’s boost and gold’s decline. The US central bank will hold a two-day Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) policy meeting on Tuesday. According to the CME Group FedWatch tool, there is a 99% chance that Fed Chair Jerome Powell will pull the trigger on a quarter-point rate hike – the market is also penciling in a rate hike in December.

Analysts do expect the Fed to modify its rate moves for 2020 and 2021, something that could have consequences for the greenback and gold.

Gold is generally sensitive to a rising-rate environment because it lifts the opportunity cost and sends investors into yield-bearing assets.

In other metal commodities, December copper futures skyrocketed $0.12, or 4.4%, to $2.86 pound. December platinum futures dropped $6.30, or 0.76%, to $827.90 an ounce. December palladium futures were flat at $1,044.40 per ounce.

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