Gold steady amid firmer dollar; US rate hike view weighs

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Gold prices were little changed on Monday, but held near the previous session’s low, pressured by a firmer dollar and expectations of a series of interest rate hikes by the U.S. Federal Reserve this year and in 2018.

Spot gold was nearly unchanged at $1,275.63 per ounce at 0431 GMT. On Friday, gold dropped 0.7 percent for its biggest one-day percentage fall since Oct. 26, weighed down by a rise in U.S. Treasury bond yields.
U.S. gold futures for December delivery gained 0.1 percent to $1,275.80.
“The sell-off (on Friday) underlines the sensitivity of gold to the U.S. yield curve and further emphasizes that the safe haven premium in the gold price is mainly non-existent at the moment,” said Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst with OANDA.
“Gold’s fate will not be its own as we enter the home stretch of 2017.”
The expectation of an interest rate hike by the Fed next month is keeping gold prices range-bound, said Richard Xu, a fund manager at China’s biggest gold exchange-traded fund, HuaAn Gold.
“There are talks of three rate hikes next year. That is going to be in our view significant tightening of the monetary policy. Markets are digesting this news and we don’t see much of movement in gold prices in the next one or two months.”
Higher interest rates tend to boost the dollar and push bond yields up, putting pressure on gold prices by increasing the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion.
The dollar inched up as U.S. yields spiked and as the pound stumbled on uncertainty surrounding the fate of British Prime Minister Theresa May’s government, although the main investor focus was still on how and when a planned U.S. tax overhaul would pan out.
The head of the House of Representatives’ tax-writing committee said on Sunday he would not accept elimination of a federal deduction for state and local taxes, opposing a proposal from Senate Republicans that would hike taxes for some middle class Americans.
Spot gold is biased to retest a support at $1,263 per ounce,a break below which could open the way towards the next support at $1,241, according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.
In other precious metals, silver edged 0.1 percent higher to $16.91 per ounce.
Platinum rose 0.4 percent to $929.35 an ounce and palladium was up 0.6 percent, to $999.50.

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