Gold Closes Above $1,300 for First Time This Year

Updated on
  • Bullion futures up 14% this year as Fed goes slow on rates
  • Dollar weakness is seen helping to bolster the precious metal

Morse Says Half of Gold's Rally Attributed to N. Korea

Gold futures closed above $1,300 an ounce for the first time since November as the dollar dropped and speculation mounted that policy makers will be slow to raise U.S. interest rates.

Futures for delivery in December rose 1.3 percent to settle at $1,315.30 at 1:42 p.m. on the Comex in New York. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index slipped 0.1 percent. While gold has risen above $1,300 in intraday trading this year, it had not managed to close above that threshold since November.

Bullion has rallied 14 percent this year as investors bet the Fed will be hard-pressed to follow up with additional U.S. interest-rate increases given lackluster inflation. The dollar fell on Monday as traders weighed the damage from Tropical Storm Harvey in Houston, boosting demand for gold as an alternative asset. Last week, Bank of America Merrill Lynch said prices are on track to hit $1,400 an ounce by early next year on lower long-term U.S. rates and a lack of progress by President Donald Trump in delivering his agenda.

“The Fed may be a little bit more cautious in their stance on raising interest rates for the remainder of the year,” Phil Streible, senior market strategist at RJO Futures in Chicago, said by phone. “There are a lot of uncertainties out there.”

Metals, he added, have a lot of “momentum behind them.”

Investors waiting for clues about the Fed’s tightening path during the gathering last week in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, were disappointed. Monetary policy wasn’t a major focus, and when it was discussed the messages from the Fed and the European Central Bank stressed gradual approaches to unwinding emergency-era stimulus as growth picks up. Low rates are a boon to non-interest bearing precious metals.

“Traders are going to focus on the momentum which would primarily be driven by the dollar weakness,” Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Think Markets U.K., said by email.

Hedge fund billionaire Ray Dalio endorsed gold this month, recommending investors consider placing 5 percent to 10 percent of their assets in the commodity. Dalio, who manages Bridgewater Associates, cited risks including the North Korean situation, as well as the possibility that Congress may fail to increase the U.S. debt ceiling, leading to a technical default.

— With assistance by Yuliya Fedorinova

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