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Gold Poised to Extend Losses Ahead of Fed Meeting

July 30, 2018 at 17:52 by Andrew Moran

Gold futures are holding steady, but they are on track for their third straight loss. The yellow metal was taking a beating on rising bond yields, a hawkish Federal Reserve, and bullish trade reports between the US, Canada, and Mexico. These are all ingredients for a recipe of a bearish week for gold prices.

December gold futures slid $0.80, or 0.06%, to $1,231.90 per ounce at 17:19 GMT on Monday. Last week, gold recorded a weekly loss of around 1%, contributing to its year-to-date loss of 8%.

The sister commodity to gold, silver, is rallying to kick off the trading week. September silver futures advanced $0.05, or 0.34%, to $15.54 an ounce. The white metal also endured a tepid weekly loss of 0.1%, continuing its 2018 decline of 10%.

On Tuesday, the US central bank will kick off its two-day Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting, where it is not expected to raise interest rates. According to the CME Group FedWatch tool, the market is anticipating a rate hike in September and another one in December. Fed Chair Jerome Powell, receiving harsh criticism from President Donald Trump over its rising-rate program, has stated that the normalizing of rates depends on the economic data.

Ahead of the monetary policy meeting, the 10-year Treasury yield crept up 0.01%, nearing the crucial 3% threshold. A rising-yield environment typically sends investors into safer assets, causing them to reconsider parking their money in riskier, non-yield-bearing ones such as gold.

The US dollar could not post gains to start the trading week as the greenback slumped 0.38%. Over the last five days, the buck has shed 0.4%, but the currency is still up 2.36% so far this year. A strengthening dollar is bad for dollar-denominated commodities because it more expensive for foreign investors to purchase.

A paucity of geopolitical tensions also sent gold prices lower. After a positive meeting with European leaders, the US signaled that it will likely move ahead with trade talks with Canada and Mexico. At the same time, some analysts are viewing this as a move to renew pressure on China.

The market appears to be increasingly shorting gold contracts. According to the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), hedge funds and money managers boosted more than 5,000 contracts to their short positions, bringing it to a total of 27,156 contracts, a 12-year high.

In other metal commodities, September copper futures dipped $0.01, or 0.37%, to $2.791 per pound. September platinum futures dropped $0.80, or 0.1%, to $830.90 an ounce. September palladium futures added $1.30, or 0.14%, to $919.80 per ounce.

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