Metals Stocks: Gold at 6-week lows, heads for September loss at hands of resurgent dollar

Gold futures prices fell Friday, leaving the metal languishing at six-week lows and headed for a roughly 1.7% loss for September.

Gold had markedly dropped a day earlier as the dollar index deepened its advance, seen after theFederal Reserve this week lifted federal-funds rates for the third time this year and signaled it was prepared to increase again in December. The ICE U.S. dollar index

DXY, +0.24%

 was up 0.3% Friday and headed for 0.6% September gain owed to the late-month move.

In early trading, December gold

GCZ8, +0.54%

 eased 70 cents, or 0.1%, at $1,186.70 an ounce The contract plunged more than $11 or 1% to settle at $1,187.40 Thursday. Based on the most-active contract, that was the lowest settlement since $1,184 on Aug. 17, FactSet data show.

Gold is sensitive to higher rates because they push up U.S. bond yields, reducing the attraction of nonyielding bullion, and tend to boost the dollar, which makes gold more expensive for buyers with other currencies. Gold prices based on the most-active contracts have declined almost 11% so far in 2018 while the dollar index is up about 3.5%, both moves largely linked to a tightening Fed.

Splitting from gold’s move, December silver

SIZ8, +2.80%

rose 5 cents, or 0.4%, to $14.34 an ounce, but was on track for a 1.4% September drop.

December copper

HGZ8, +0.84%

 fell 0.2% to $2.7775 a pound Thursday. January platinum

PLF9, +1.08%

lost 0.1% to $815.50 an ounce. December palladium

PLZ8, +0.82%

rose 0.6% at $1,077.80 an ounce, trying for its 13th session gain in a row. It continues to stand at its highest prices since January, buoyed by expectations for record automotive demand for palladium this year.

The popular SPDR Gold Trust

GLD, +0.60%

 slipped 0.1%, while the iShares Silver Trust

SLV, +2.68%

 rose 0.7%. The VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF

GDX, +1.64%

fell less than 0.1%.

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Rachel Koning Beals is a MarketWatch news editor in Chicago.

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