Gold ‘getting hit from all directions’ as investors flee funds

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 10 December, 2016, 12:25am
UPDATED : Saturday, 10 December, 2016, 12:25am

Everything’s against gold at the moment.

It’s heading for a fifth consecutive weekly loss, the longest run since November 2015, as the Federal Reserve gears up to raise rates, while US equities at record levels lure money out of havens and fund holdings wither. Assets in bullion-backed exchange-traded funds contracted for a 20th straight day as of Thursday, the longest stretch since May 2013.

The precious metal is ending 2016 on the ropes as investors price in the Fed’s probable move next week, as well as the likelihood of further hikes in 2017, which has boosted the dollar.

The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average are at all-time highs amid speculation President-elect Donald Trump’s policies will spur growth. Investors are also assessing the European Central Bank’s decision on Thursday to tweak its bond buying.

“Gold’s getting hit from all directions,” said Tom Kendall, head of precious metals strategy at ICBC Standard Bank Plc in London. “We have very week physical markets, we’ve had this surge in bond yields and equities, ETF outflows and talk of Trump’s fiscal stimulus, all of which conspired to push down prices.”

Bullion for immediate delivery lost as much as 0.5 per cent to US$1,165.27 an ounce, near a 10-month low, according to Bloomberg generic pricing. It’s down 0.7 per cent this week and has dropped 15 per cent from its post-Brexit highs.

Investors see a near 100 per cent probability US policy makers will raise the benchmark rate at their December 13-14 meeting to deliver the first rate increase of the year. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index is little changed this week after surging 3.9 per cent in November for the biggest monthly increase in two years.

The metal’s most accurate bullion forecaster tracked by Bloomberg in the third quarter said there may be more pain ahead. Barnabas Gan, an economist at Singapore-based Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp., sees gold at $1,175 an ounce in the first quarter, $1,150 in April to June, $1,125 in the third period and $1,100 by the fourth.

Gold may see more pain in 2017 as interest rates start to climb

“With the US Fed most likely to raise interest rates next week by 25 basis points, the firmer dollar is a very, very strong factor to limit any rally,” Gan said. Aside from the Fed’s decision, the rhetoric markets will be looking for is on the trajectory for rates into 2017, according to Gan.

Gold ETF holdings fell 3.3 tonnes to 1,839.4 tonnes, the lowest since June, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Silver was up 0.4 per cent at $17.0852 an ounce, heading for a second weekly increase. Platinum was little changed at $938.60 an ounce, set for a weekly gain. Palladium rose 0.7 per cent to $742.75 an ounce, down 0.2 per cent this week.