Saturday, 26 November 2016

PRECIOUS-Gold taps 9-1/2 month low as U.S. rate hike expectations loom

Gold prices steadied after falling to 9-1/2 month lows on Friday, heading for a third consecutive weekly decline as investors sold on factors including expectations of a U.S. interest rate rise.

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* Overall holdings in gold ETFs fall 5 pct since Nov 9

* Market sees near 100 pct chance of December U.S. rate hike (Updates prices; adds comment, second byline, datelines)

Gold prices steadied after falling to 9-1/2 month lows on Friday, heading for a third consecutive weekly decline as investors sold on factors including expectations of a U.S. interest rate rise.

Spot gold XAU= was down 0.03 percent at $1,182.88 an ounce by 2:15 p.m. EST (1915 GMT), after tapping $1,171.21, its lowest since Feb. 8, as funds took profits on short positions. The precious metal has fallen more than 7 percent so far in November, leaving it on track for its largest monthly fall since June 2013.
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U.S. gold futures GCcv1 settled down 0.9 percent at $1,178.40, after dipping to their lowest since Feb. 5 at $1,170.30.

"Investors are still retreating from gold, though prices falling below $1,200 has promoted some profit-taking," said Commerzbank (DE:CBKG) analyst Eugen Weinberg.

"Gold is being driven by many factors including equity markets, currency markets and expectations of higher U.S. interest rates, which are going to be a huge burden."

Equity markets have rallied since Donald Trump won the U.S. presidential election. MKTS/GLOB

"The rising dollar, yields and U.S. equity prices all weighed on the appeal of the buck-denominated, non interest-bearing and perceived safe-haven precious metal," said Fawad Razaqzada, technical analyst for Forex.com.

"In terms of the dollar, the slight weakness we have observed at the end of this week could very well turn out to be temporary even if a December rate rise may already be priced in."

Though the U.S. dollar .DXY fell against a basket of major currencies on Friday, it was on track to close higher for the third straight week after reaching the highest since March 2003. FRX/

Markets are now pricing in a nearly 100 percent probability that the U.S. Federal Reserve will raise rates at its December meeting, according to CME FedWatch.

That would further boost the dollar, making commodities more expensive for holders of other currencies.

Overall holdings of physical gold in exchange traded funds (ETF) have fallen more than 5 percent to 54.135 million ounces since Nov. 9, the day after the election.

"A further test of the downside cannot be ruled out just yet, especially as ETF liquidations persist," UBS analysts said in a note.

Traders say the U.S. monthly jobs report due on Dec. 2 will be key to market sentiment.

Elsewhere, silver XAG= gained 1.4 percent at $16.48 an ounce and palladium XPD= rose 1.65 percent at $741.

Platinum XPT= fell 1.15 percent at $903, after reaching its lowest since Feb. 8 at $899.50.





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