Gold Assets in Top ETF Drop to 11-Week Low Amid Fog on Fed Rate

  • Investors are waiting for direction from Fed policy meeting
  • Holdings in world’s largest gold ETF at lowest since June 24

Holdings in the world’s largest exchange-traded product backed by gold fell to the lowest since June as investors pulled back before a Federal Reserve meeting next week.

Assets in SPDR Gold Shares dropped 0.5 percent on Tuesday to 935.49 metric tons, the lowest since June 24. Holdings have dropped from a three-year high reached in July as comments from some officials fueled speculation that the Fed will tighten U.S. monetary policy this year, making gold less competitive against interest-bearing assets.

After rallying this year through June, bullion prices have stalled on caution over rates and a rising dollar. Odds of a hike in December are now more than 50 percent, up from 36 percent in early August, Fed fund futures show. Volatility in financial markets increased the past week as the European Central Bank refrained from adding to stimulus and the Bank of Japan continued a review of the costs and benefits of its policies.

“The Fed is very unclear and divided to start with, and this is not a good sign if you want to commit to gold,” Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Think Markets U.K. Ltd. in London, said by e-mail. “Investors are looking at alternatives which are producing a better return.”

Gold futures for December delivery rose 0.2 percent to settle at $1,326.10 an ounce at 1:46 p.m. on the Comex in New York, the first gain in more than a week.

The Fed meets Sept. 20 and 21 for its next decision of whether to raise interest rates. On Monday, Fed Governor Lael Brainard said there is no reason to rush to raise rates, while Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren said on Friday that the economy may overheat if the bank waits too long.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. expects the greenback to strengthen by 15 percent based on the firm’s forecast for a three-percentage-point rate increase during a Fed tightening cycle that will continue through 2019, the bank said in a note. A stronger dollar curbs demand for gold as an alternative asset.

In other precious metals news:

  • Silver futures for December delivery gained 0.5 percent to $19.066 an ounce on the Comex.
  • On the New York Mercantile Exchange, platinum and palladium advanced.
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