Gold Falls to Lowest in a Week as Fed Minutes Fuel Rate Concerns

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Gold futures fell to a one-week low after minutes from the Federal Reserve’s last meeting fueled concern that policy makers are moving closer to raising interest rates.

Fed officials were split last month over whether they would boost rates in June, the minutes released on Wednesday showed. Holdings in exchange-traded products backed by gold fell to 1,616.1 metric tons, a three-month low, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The dollar rose to the highest in a week against a basket of 10 currencies.

Gold futures are heading for the first weekly decline since March 13. A government report last week showed U.S. jobs growth cooled in March, providing temporary support for prices. Metals traders are scrutinizing economic data for more signals on the timing of rate increases, which cuts the appeal of bullion because it only offers returns through price gains.

“The Fed minutes yesterday put the brakes on gold,” James Cordier, the founder of Optionsellers.com in Tampa, Florida, said in a telephone interview. “Even though many traders and investors don’t think a June rate hike is possible, it’s still out there and that’s reason for gold to pause.”

Bullion futures for June delivery dropped 0.8 percent to settle at $1,193.60 an ounce at 1:44 p.m. on the Comex in New York. Prices earlier touched $1,192.40, the lowest since April 1.

“Several participants judged that the economic data and outlook were likely to warrant beginning normalization at the June meeting,” according to minutes of the March 17-18 Federal Open Market Committee session.

Silver futures for May delivery fell 1.7 percent to $16.176 an ounce on the Comex, capping a third straight loss. Prices touched $16.105, the lowest since March 20.

Platinum futures for July delivery lost 0.8 percent to $1,157 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Palladium futures for June delivery climbed 0.9 percent to $762.40 an ounce, the third gain in four days.

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