October 24, 2016 / 5:35 AM / 3 years ago

CORRECTED-PRECIOUS-Gold pressured by Fed rate hike prospects

(Corrects percentage change in 2nd paragraph to 0.09 from 0.9)
    * Speculators cut net long's in gold
    * Bullion could retest support at $1,261/oz - Technicals
    * Platinum off near 8-month lows hit Friday

    By Apeksha Nair
    Oct 24 (Reuters) - Gold prices held within a narrow range on
Monday as markets awaited further clues on the timing of an
interest hike by the U.S. Federal Reserve.
    Spot gold was down 0.09 percent at $1,265.68 an ounce
at 0745 GMT, while U.S. gold futures was down 0.1
percent at $1,266.40 an ounce.
    "Given the risk is just going to be increased, most people
are going to liquidate a part of their holdings, just to place
themselves in a safer position," said Mark To, head of research
at Hong Kong's Wing Fung Financial Group.
    "Ahead of the U.S. elections results, it will move around
the level $1,250 to $1,270 without much momentum to go up," he
added.
    Third-quarter growth figures from the United States and Fed
policymakers speeches due this week will be closely watched by
the market for clues on a possible interest rate hike.
  
    Hedge funds and money managers cut their net long positions
in COMEX gold for a third straight week in the week to Oct. 18,
U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data showed on Friday.
 
    San Francisco Fed President John Williams on Friday
redoubled his call for raising rates soon, telling reporters
after a speech here that "this year would be good" for a rate
rise that he had wanted to take effect last month. 
    Gold is highly sensitive to rising U.S. interest rates,
which increase the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding
assets such as bullion, while boosting the dollar, in which it
is priced.
    "People are watching the U.S. elections and the data is on
the positive side, favourable for a rate hike. As long as prices
stay below the $1,300 mark, the downward trend might continue,"
said Hareesh V, research head of Geofin Comtrade Ltd. 
    "Prices need to break convincingly above the $1,300 level
for a strong upside movement."
    Spot gold is biased to retest a support at $1,261 per ounce,
a break below which could cause a loss to $1,251, according to
Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao. 
    Silver was up 0.1 percent at $17.63 an ounce.
    Platinum was up nearly 1 percent at $938.00 an ounce.
In the previous session, it touched a low of $921.20, its lowest
level since Feb. 29.
    Palladium, which touched a more-than-three-month low
of $613.10 in the previous session, rose 0.16 percent at
$629.00.
    

 (Reporting by Apeksha Nair and Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru;
Editing by Richard Pullin and Sherry Jacob-Phillips)
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