Gold futures eased in Friday’s shortened session, pulling back from Wednesday’s, pre-Thanksgiving two-week high, and leaving the precious metal little changed for the week.
Market focus remained fixated on Federal Reserve interest-rate plans over coming months, the dollar’s response to said rate moves, and what looming China-U.S. trade discussions could indicate for the economy’s fortunes. Stock volatility, with major averages pushed into negative for the year earlier this week, is underpinning the appetite for haven gold as well.
Gold for December delivery
on Comex fell $5.60, or 0.5%, to $1,222.30 an ounce. Gold will settle at 12:30 Eastern time, about an hour early for Black Friday. The close Wednesday at $1,228 was the highest for a most-active contract since Nov. 7, according to FactSet data. But now the contract is headed for a roughly 0.04% drop for the week.
“The gold story looks very intriguing in the face of looming trade war risk [and] a possible u-turn on Fed policy, which would result in a significantly weaker U.S. dollar. All of which suggests gold prices will continue to find a bid,” said Stephen Innes, head of Asia-Pacific trading with Oanda.
The Fed is widely expected to enact its fourth rate increase of 2018 in December, but investors have concerns over how many increases the central bank can implement next year without sparking a domestic recession, amid emerging signs of global economic weakness. The Fed has penciled in three more hikes for 2019.
Part of the economic uncertainty germinates with trade tensions. China rejected fresh U.S. accusations of perpetuating “unfair” trade practices and urged Washington on Thursday to stop making provocations, as the two sides will join up next week at the Group of 20 summit.
Gold fell as the ICE U.S. Dollar Index
a gauge of the currency against a basket of six major rivals, rose 0.3%. It is up 0.4% for the week and 0.9% for the month so far. Gold often moves inversely to the dollar. A firmer dollar can make gold less attractive to users of other currencies.
Read: What the G-20 summit means for currencies
Meanwhile, after one of the weaker starts to a Thanksgiving week in recent years, the SP 500 index,
Dow Jones Industrial Average
and Nasdaq Composite Index
were all set to register weekly declines of more than 3%, according to FactSet data. See Market Snapshot.
In other metals trade, December silver
fell 25 cents, or 1.7%, to $14.25 an ounce, with prices for the white metal down 0.9% for the week so far. December palladium
fell 0.8% to $1,124.30 an ounce, while January platinum
fell 0.6%, to $845.60 an ounce. December copper
fell 1% to $2.764 a pound.
In exchange-traded fund trading, the SPDR Gold Shares
was up nearly 0.4%, while the iShares Silver Trust
fell 0.8%. The VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF
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Rachel Koning Beals is a MarketWatch news editor in Chicago.
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