Gold Gets Whipsawed as Traders Try to Gauge Rate-Increase Pace

  • Bullion prices rebound after biggest daily drop since July
  • Assets held in gold-backed ETFs are at lowest since 2009

Gold is being whipsawed as investors try to gauge the pace of future U.S. interest-rate increases.

After initially moving little when the Federal Reserve decided on Wednesday to raise rates for the first time in almost a decade, the metal ended Thursday down 2 percent, the most since July 20. Bullion rose 1.4 percent on Friday as a gauge of the dollar weakened.

The market has been “a bit schizophrenic” in reaction to the Fed’s decision to end an unprecedented era of ultra-easy monetary policy, said Chuck Jeannes, chief executive officer of Goldcorp Inc., the world’s most valuable miner of the metal. While higher borrowing costs cut the appeal of owning bullion, which doesn’t pay interest, traders and analysts surveyed by Bloomberg expect higher prices as policy makers stress a gradual approach toward further raising rates.

“There’s a lot of volatility in the market,” said Maria Smirnova, a Toronto-based portfolio manager at Sprott Asset Management, which oversees C$7.4 billion ($5.3 billion). “We view this as an environment that is good for trading in and out. Unfortunately, it’s become difficult to invest in the mining names. It’s very difficult to buy and hold something for a long period of time.”

Gold Price

Bullion for immediate delivery advanced to $1,065.45 an ounce at 3:36 p.m. in New York, according to Bloomberg generic pricing. On the Comex in New York, gold futures for February delivery gained 1.5 percent to settle at $1,065. Futures are down 1 percent this week.

The 30-member Philadelphia Stock Exchange Gold & Silver Index slumped 5 .2 percent this week after posting the lowest settlement since 2000 on Thursday.

"Gold is trading in line with aggregates such as the dollar, as battered investors try to understand the implications of the new era of the Fed rates for gold," Matthew Turner, an analyst at Macquarie Group Ltd. in London, said by phone.

Bullion tends to move inversely to the dollar, which has strengthened this year as investors expected the U.S. central bank to start raising rates. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index, which tracks the currency against 10 major peers, lost 0.4 percent Friday to halt six days of gains.

Investors in gold-backed funds keep selling metal. Holdings in exchange-traded products dropped 4.9 metric tons on Thursday, the most in two weeks, to 1,458.2 tons, data compiled by Bloomberg show. That’s the lowest level in more than six years.

Silver futures rose on the Comex. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, platinum and palladium also advanced.

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