US MIDDAY: gold slips
Gold fell on Tuesday on muted US inflation data and as investors braced for the expected announcement by the US Federal Reserve of a reduction in its bond-buying stimulus. The Labour Department said US consumer prices barely rose 0.1 percent in August. But analysts said rising rents and medical care costs might prompt the Fed to begin scaling back, or tapering, its stimulus.
Copyright Reuters, 2013
The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meets this week. Economists polled by Reuters expect policy makers to announce a $10 billion reduction in the Fed's $85 billion monthly bond buying program, beginning September. Analysts said gold prices could rally if the Fed decides not to begin tapering this month, or announces a reduction in bond buying that is less than the market expects.
"If the Fed turns out to be anything other than what traders have been expecting on tapering, we are going to see much higher gold prices," said Miguel Perez-Santalla, vice president at BullionVault. Spot gold fell 0.3 percent to $1,309.70 an ounce by 1:16 p.m. EDT (1716 GMT). On Monday, gold tumbled 1.5 percent to five-week low of $1,303.85.
US gold futures for December dropped $8 an ounce to $1,309.80. Signs of US economic weakness, such as disappointing nonfarm payrolls data this month, have made some investors suspect that the Fed might postpone cutting monetary stimulus. Gold has dropped 22 percent this year as the Fed signalled it would start reining in its massive bond-buying stimulus that has boosted financial liquidity in the market.
Investors will also focus on the US central bank's outlook on future monetary policy on Wednesday, analysts said. Goldman Sachs said in a note it was neutral on gold in the near term, but expected the metal to make fresh lows in 2014 as hopes of better US growth could reduce the need for monetary stimulus. In physical gold market, India on Tuesday doubled its import duty on gold jewellery to 15 percent, higher than the duty on raw gold, which has been hiked three times this year to a record 10 percent. However, gold prices at below $1,300 an ounce should trigger retail buying, said BullionVault's Perez-Santalla. In other precious metals, silver edged up 0.2 percent to $21.74 an ounce, after falling 2.3 percent in the previous session. Platinum fell 1.1 percent to $1,418.49 an ounce, while palladium gained 0.2 percent to $702.72 an ounce.