Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg

Gold Gets Double Whammy on Weak Inflation, Rising Fed Rate Bets

  • U.S. inflation expectations match lowest in data to 1979
  • Fed may raise rates as soon as next month, futures show

Gold investors have more to worry about than the prospect of higher U.S. interest rates.

The metal, traditionally used as a hedge against rising consumer prices, is getting a one-two punch as weak inflation indicators compound the impact of speculation that the Federal Reserve will soon tighten monetary policy. Higher rates curb gold’s appeal because it doesn’t pay interest or give dividends, unlike competing assets.

Americans’ expectations for inflation over the next five-to-ten years matched the lowest in data going back to 1979, according to a University of Michigan report on Friday. While government figures on Tuesday showed prices excluding food and energy picked up in October, the central bank’s preferred gauge hasn’t met the Fed’s 2 percent goal since April 2012.

Demand withers for gold as a store of value
Demand withers for gold as a store of value

“There is no inflation, and that means gold will remain depressed, and I’m looking for lower gold going into next year,” Miguel Perez-Santalla, the sales and marketing manager at Heraeus Metals in New York, said in a telephone interview. “Nobody feels the need to have gold.”

Policy makers have said a December increase is possible as the labor market improves. Bets on a move in December accelerated this month after government data on Nov. 6 showed a drop in the unemployment rate and a jump in average hourly earnings.

A report from the Labor Department on Tuesday showed the cost of living excluding food and energy rose 0.2 percent for a second straight month in October, matching the median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE