May 15, 2018 / 1:17 AM / 5 days ago

Gold hits fresh 2018 low as rising yields lift dollar

NEW YORK/LONDON (Reuters) - Gold slid more than 1 percent on Tuesday, falling for a third day to hit its lowest this year as a rise in U.S. borrowing costs pushed up the dollar and overshadowed the impact of strife in Gaza.

A saleswoman displays a gold necklace to a customer inside a jewellery showroom on the occasion of Akshaya Tritiya, a major gold buying festival, in Mumbai, India April 18, 2018. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas

Downward momentum in gold picked up after the metal broke below support at its 200-day moving average at $1,306 an ounce. That firmly underpinned prices earlier this month.

Spot gold lost 1.6 percent at $1,290.91 an ounce by 1:35 p.m. EDT (1735 GMT), earlier hitting its lowest since late December at $1,289.40. U.S. gold futures for June delivery settled down $27.90, or 2.12 percent, at $1,290.30 per ounce.

Israeli troops shot dead dozens of Palestinian protesters on the Gaza border Monday when the high-profile opening of the U.S. embassy to Israel in Jerusalem by the Trump administration raised tension to a boiling point.

But gold investors were fixated on the U.S. dollar, which rose versus a currency basket as 10-year U.S. bond yields shot above 3 percent, sending borrowing costs higher in a number of other countries.

“It’s a risk-off play across the board. The downward slide in pretty much all commodities and equities, you can refer that to a stronger dollar and higher yields,” said David Meger, director of metals trading at High Ridge Futures.

A Federal Reserve official backed the case for further U.S. interest rate hikes, saying inflation had not yet reached the U.S. central bank’s 2 percent goal in a sustained way.

Higher U.S. interest rates tend to boost the dollar and bond yields, making greenback-denominated gold more expensive for holders of other currencies and denting the appeal of non-yielding assets such as bullion.

“The market’s been waiting for the next rate hike by the Fed ... and I think gold prices are going to remain under pressure till we get through that hike,” ANZ analyst Daniel Hynes said in a note.

However if yields were to ease, bullion could recover lost ground over the coming days, Forex.com market analyst Fawad Razaqzada said. “Otherwise the only hope for dollar-denominated gold is a potential correction in the greenback now.”

Silver declined 1.5 percent at $16.26 an ounce, earlier hitting its lowest in nearly two weeks at $16.18 an ounce.

Platinum lost 1.2 percent at $893.99 per ounce, falling to a 1-1/2-week low of $892.24 per ounce.

Palladium dropped 1 percent at $986 an ounce, earlier dipping to a one-week low of $964. It broke support at its 200-day moving average at $988 an ounce.

Additional reporting by Jan Harvey in London and Apeksha Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Dale Hudson and Alistair Bell

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