Gold inches higher as Fed meeting nears

A Jordanian goldsmith

NEW YORK/LONDON: Gold turned slightly higher on Monday, clawing above the prior session’s one-month low on uncertainty ahead of a Federal Reserve policy meeting that will be scrutinized for clarity on when the US central bank will raise interest rates.

Spot gold was up 0.1 percent at $1,109 an ounce by 3:15 p.m. EDT (1915 GMT). It had fallen to $1,098.35 on Friday, the lowest since Aug. 11.

US gold for December delivery settled up 0.4 percent at $1,107.70, but was also close to its lowest in a month.

The Fed will kick off a two-day policy meeting on Wednesday. Though some in the market still reckon a “lift-off” could come this week, the view is gathering steam that faltering global growth could push that back even into next year.

“There has been so much anticipation (about the Fed rate hike) that we are now anticipated out,” Macquarie analyst Matthew Turner said.

“I don’t think that not raising rates in September could feel like a complete change of policy,” Turner said, adding that one concern for gold could be if the dollar resumes its upward move against developed market currencies.

The dollar turned up 0.1 percent after falling to a near-three-week low against a basket of major currencies. Wall Street and European shares retreated while oil prices fell as investors positioned for the Fed meeting.

Gold has benefited in recent years from ultra-low rates, which cut the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding gold while weighing on the dollar, in which the metal is priced.

“It’s quite resilient coming into the Fed meeting,” said Phillip Streible, senior commodities broker for RJO Futures in Chicago, adding that the market’s change of direction indicates uncertainty.

A small majority of forecasters are sticking to their guns and predicting the Fed will pull the trigger this week.

“A non rate hike in September could give a temporary respite to gold, but prices are unlikely to breach recent highs around $1,170,” ActivTrades chief analyst Carlo Alberto de Casa said.

Hedge funds and money managers cut their bullish stance in COMEX gold contracts to a three-week low in the week ended Sept. 8, US government data showed on Friday.

Other precious metals remained under pressure, with silver down 1.6 percent at $14.38 an ounce and platinum falling 1.1 percent to $954 an ounce.