Picture: AFP/OZAN KOSE
Picture: AFP/OZAN KOSE

Bengaluru — Gold eased to a one-week low on Tuesday, consolidating below $1,400 as the dollar rallied on expectations of a less dovish US Federal Reserve ahead of testimony from the chair of the central bank.

Spot gold was 0.5% lower at $1,387.80 an ounce at 10.26am GMT, having earlier touched $1,386.11, its lowest since July 2. US gold futures for August delivery shed 0.7% to $1,389.50.

“The [gold] market is clearly erring on the side of caution. We have the dollar having moved higher and with that, gold is struggling a bit,” said Saxo Bank analyst Ole Hansen, noting that bullion was managing to hold above key support around $1,380. “The real question is how dovish will Powell be in his expression of the US economy.”

Fed chair Jerome Powell’s two-day testimony before US Congress starts on Wednesday. 

The dollar hit a three-week high against a basket of currencies, with expectations of a 50-basis-point interest rate cut by the Fed this month falling to 5.9% from 25% last week. However, chances of a 25-basis-point cut were at 98%.

Investors also think there is a higher chance the central bank will not cut rates in September. Adding to the reduced expectations for a larger cut, US consumers lifted their inflation expectations in June for the first time in three months, New York Fed data showed on Monday.

Higher interest rates boost the dollar, making dollar-denominated gold more expensive for buyers using other currencies and reducing investor interest in non-yielding bullion.

On the technical front, gold is now is now consolidating around $1,400, plus or minus $20 an ounce, said Samson Li, a Hong Kong-based precious metals analyst at Refinitiv GFMS.

Hedge funds and money managers raised their bullish stance in Comex gold in the week to July 2, the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission said on Monday.

“The biggest risk in the market is the success gold has had in attracting new buyers over the past one month. Any change in the short-term outlook could have a negative impact on prices because longs need to be reduced,” Saxo Bank’s Hansen said.

Meanwhile, the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) traded 227.6-million ounces of gold worth about $300bn during the week to June 23, the biggest weekly total since data began in November.

Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell 0.15% to 795.80 tonnes on Monday.

Among other precious metals, silver fell 0.2% to $14.99 per ounce. Palladium was down 0.9% at $1,547.50, and platinum fell 0.8% to $807.28.

Reuters