Monday, February 26

Gold slips as dollar stands tall on US rate hike bets

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Gold prices dipped for a fourth straight session on Monday, weighed down by a stronger dollar after healthy US jobs data cemented bets that the Federal Reserve would stick to its aggressive rate hike path.

Spot gold was down 0.8% at $1,680.60 per ounce, as of 0857 GMT, after hitting its lowest since Oct. 3. US gold futures fell 1.2% to $1,688.30.

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“The key driver of this morning would be the US dollar index edging a shade higher. The solid US jobs data last week didn’t help things for gold in any way at all,” said Ross Norman, an independent analyst.

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“We’re back at $1,680 level again… and gold will remain under some downside pressure in the short term.”

The dollar index hit a more than one-week peak, making gold more expensive for buyers holding other currencies.

Data on Friday showed US employers hired more workers than expected in September, while the unemployment rate dropped to 3.5%, providing ammunition to the Fed to deliver another hefty rate hike at its upcoming policy meeting.

Fed fund futures are now pricing in a 90% chance of a 75-basis-point hike.

Focus now shifts to US inflation data due later this week. Headline consumer price inflation is seen slowing a touch to an annual 8.1%, but the core measure is forecast to accelerate to 6.5% from 6.3%.

“Another high inflation figure out of the US later this week will only exacerbate the pressure on the Fed to keep on raising its benchmark rate aggressively,” Kinesis Money analyst Rupert Rowling wrote in a note.

Higher interest rates increase the opportunity cost of holding bullion, which pays no interest.

Elsewhere, spot silver dropped 2.3% to $19.65 per ounce after hitting a one-week low.

Platinum fell 1.5% to $898.58 per ounce, while palladium edged 0.1% higher to $2,183.99. (Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)