Gold on track for worst month since June 2013 on looming rate hike

Gold on track for worst month since June 2013 on looming rate hike
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BENGALURU (Nov 30): Gold was on track for its biggest monthly decline since June 2013, largely pressured by an imminent U.S. interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve in December on expectations of improving economic growth.

Spot gold on Wednesday was nearly unchanged at US$1,188.86 an ounce by 0627 GMT. U.S. gold futures were flat at US$1,187.90 per ounce. Spot gold was down 6.83% so
far this month.

Bullion has lost US$150 from a Nov 9 post U.S. election high of US$1,337.40 per ounce, hurt by a rally in the U.S. dollar on surging Treasury yields, as investors believed President-elect Donald Trump's policies would invoke faster inflation.

"Markets seem to accept Trump as good for business," said Joshua Rotbart, managing partner at Hong Kong-based bullion services provider J. Rotbart & Co. 

"His statements about increasing investments in infrastructure, tax reform aimed at strengthening local businesses and import reforms to prioritize local businesses
have increased growth expectations," he added.

"This has triggered a risk-on trend which has seen cash flows from gold-backed securities to risky assets like equities." 

The dollar on Wednesday edged up as U.S. debt yields resumed ascent.   

The U.S. economy grew faster than initially estimated in the third quarter, notching up its best performance in two years, buoyed by strong consumer spending and a surge in soybean exports. 

The case for raising U.S. interest rates has "clearly strengthened" since early November, before Americans elected Republican Donald Trump as president, Federal Reserve governor Jerome Powell said on Tuesday, in the latest signal that a policy tightening is imminent. 

Gold is highly sensitive to rising rates, which lift the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding assets such as bullion, while boosting the dollar, in which it is priced.

Oil markets were jittery on Wednesday ahead of an OPEC meeting later in the day, with members of the producer cartel trying to thrash out an output cut to curb oversupply. 

"The impact of an OPEC deal on gold would be tricky to assess," said Edward Meir, an analyst with INTL FCStone.

"A failure by OPEC to agree on a credible cut will send oil prices sharply lower and possibly drag gold down with it.

However, we could see the dollar weaken, as a result of oil selling off and this could boost gold," Meir said.

Silver rose 0.6% to US$16.67 an ounce.

Platinum was up 0.2% at US$919.60.

Palladium edged up 0.1% to US$760.70. It rose to a 1-1/2-year high of US$766.20 on Tuesday. Palladium has risen over 23% this month, its best since February 2008,
outperforming other metals.