Gold Futures Rise as Bets Mount That Fed Will Delay Rate Rise

  • Odds of a Fed rate hike this month shrink to 2 percent
  • Yellen’s ‘coming months’ phrase omitted from speech text

In the end, gold capped its first back-to-back gain in almost three weeks as investors reconsidered an initial hawkish reading of Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s speech.

Yellen called additional gradual interest-rate increases appropriate without specifying precise timing, sending gold prices swinging. Her comments, in a text prepared for a speech Monday, were less specific than previous remarks in describing when she thought the Fed should raise rates again. On May 27, she said an increase would likely be appropriate in “coming months.”

The odds of the Fed raising rates in July fell to about 24 percent Monday after Yellen’s remarks, less than half the level of a week ago, Fed funds futures show. Gold rallied the most since mid-March on Friday after a report showed the U.S. economy created the fewest jobs last month in almost six years, sending the dollar lower and boosting demand for the metal as a haven.

“She’s saying they’re going tighten at some point, but she very definitely stopped short of saying they’re going to do it in July,” Bart Melek, the head of commodity strategy at TD Securities in Toronto, said a telephone interview. “As far as the market is concerned, tightening is a risk, but she didn’t convince us that it’s going to happen imminently.”

Gold futures for August delivery added 0.4 percent to settle at $1,247.40 an ounce at 1:40 p.m. on the Comex in New York, extending Friday’s 2.5 percent advance. That takes this year’s gain to 18 percent.

Prices jumped the most in 11 weeks Friday, after the U.S. added the fewest workers in almost six years, raising doubts the economy is strong enough to withstand tighter monetary policy. Low rates boost the investment appeal of precious metals because they don’t offer yields or dividends.

“Yellen has been a catalyst for a lot of movement in gold,” Michael Smith, the president of T&K Futures & Options in Port St. Lucie, Florida, said in a telephone interview before Yellen’s speech. “People are wondering how is she going to raise rates when things aren’t really going so hot.”

  • Traders assigned a 2 percent probability that the Fed will raise rates this month, compared with 30 percent a week earlier, Fed Funds futures show.
  • Holdings in gold-backed exchange-traded funds rose 6.2 metric tons to 1,858.2 tons as of Friday, the highest since November 2013, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
  • A gauge of 14 senior global gold producers gained 0.9 percent, as Newcrest Mining Ltd. climbed 12 percent in Sydney.
  • Silver futures also rose on the Comex, while palladium and platinum futures gained on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
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