Gold futures headed for a fourth straight gain as reports showing slow retail sales and scant signs of inflation in the U.S. weakened the case for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates.

Wholesale prices declined in September by the most since the start of the year, while retail sales advanced less than forecast by economists in a Bloomberg survey, government data showed Wednesday. Fed policy makers are watching economic data for indications that headwinds such as cooling overseas markets are spilling over and pose a risk to the U.S. expansion.

Gold has advanced more than 5 percent this month, on track for the biggest rise since January, as evidence of weakening economies boosts speculation that the Fed will hold off on tightening monetary policy this year. Higher rates dent the metal’s appeal because it doesn’t pay interest.

“I think the case for a rate hike before 2016 is on life support,” Tai Wong, the director of commodity products trading at BMO Capital Markets Corp. in New York, said in an e-mail. “And the nurse is reaching to pull the ventilator.”

Gold futures for December delivery rose 0.6 percent to $1,172.30 an ounce on the Comex.

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