- Dollar loses ground in December on gradual Fed rate increases
- Palladium, pallatinum rally on Nymex while silver rises
Gold futures gained for the first time in three sessions as a weaker dollar boosted the appeal of the precious metal as an alternative asset.
A gauge of the U.S. currency dropped for a fifth day, its longest losing streak since April, as oil rose. Silver futures also climbed on the Comex in New York, while platinum and palladium advanced on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index is poised for its worst month since June.
Gold futures touched a five-year low this month before the Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the first time in almost a decade as the U.S. economic rebound gained momentum. Higher rates damp gold’s investment appeal because it doesn’t pay interest or yields. Investors are pricing in a gradual pace of Fed tightening as the global economic recovery looks patchy and slumping commodity prices raise the specter of deflation.
“Gold is displaying a fairly clear inverse relationship to the dollar at the moment,” Angus Nicholson, a market analyst at IG Ltd. in Melbourne, said by e-mail. “We may see a short-term moderation in the U.S. dollar” as the market tries to determine the timing of the next Fed rate increase, he said.
Gold futures for February delivery gained 0.7 percent to settle at $1,075.90 an ounce at 12:40 p.m, with trading volume 56 percent below the 100-day average for this time of day, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
“For the rest of this year, the move for gold could remain very muted,” Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Avatrade Ltd. in Dublin, said by e-mail. “We do not expect any kind of firecrackers as trading volume will remain low during next week as well.”
In nine of the past 10 years, spot gold prices advanced from Dec. 23 to Jan. 3, with gains averaging 2.9 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Even in 2013 and 2014, when gold was capping two of its worst years in more than a decade, the value of the precious metal increased during those holiday weeks.