Gold fell in Asia trading on Wednesday, thus offsetting some of Tuesday’s gains. The pullback in gold may have its roots in investors moving to the sidelines ahead of the Fed’s rates review meeting next week.
Gold contracts for June delivery slipped 0.40% to $1,249.30 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange’s Comex division. In Tuesday’s trading, gold edged up 1.6% to $1,254.30.
Despite Wednesday’s fall in gold prices in Asian trading hours, the yellow metal remains up nearly 19% so far in 2016. Gold’s run has been helped by investors’ appetite for safe haven assets at a time when low interest rates have doused interest in yield-bearing assets and the oil price rout sent traders seeking for cover.
Interest rates review
Gold prices are usually sensitive to interest rates adjustments. When rates go up, appetite for riskier, yield-bearing assets such as bonds and equities increase and attention turns away from safe haven gold and yen. On the other hand, lower interest rates mean availability of cheap money that in turn encourages gold uptake. In a similar way, a weaker U.S. dollar bolsters gold buying and a stronger dollar makes gold more expensive for buyers holding currencies other than the greenback.
Gold has gained in the interim as Fed officials sent mixed signal about the number and path of the planned rate increases for this year. The Fed initially planned four rate hikes in 2016 but trimmed the expectation to only two rate increases for the year. But weak economic data have continued to cloud interest rate hikes expectations.
As Fed officials plan another meeting for a rate review next week, investors can be seen playing it safe, thus the decline in the price of yellow metal in the Asian session.
Other precious metals
Silver futures for May delivery fell 0.22% to $16.395 an ounce and copper futures for May delivery declined 0.13% to $2.222 a pound.