Gold set for biggest weekly fall, Dollar index highest since July 2020

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Jan 28 (Reuters) – Gold was flat on Friday and set for its sharpest weekly decline since November, as markets digested the U.S. Federal Reserve’s policy tightening policy plan that led to a surge in dollar and Treasury yields.

Spot gold was unchanged at $1,797.71 per ounce by 0532 GMT. U.S. gold futures was up 0.2% at $1,798.80.

The metal fell about 2% for the week, its worst fall since Nov. 26.

“Now the expectation is of five rate hikes. In a sense, market expectations of monetary policy have turned increasingly hawkish, which is negative for gold because we’ve seen a lot of strength in the two-year yields and we’ve also seen that boosting the dollar index,” said Harshal Barot, a senior research consultant for South Asia at Metals Focus.

Traders in the Fed funds futures market moved to price in nearly five rate hikes this year in the wake of Powell’s remarks on Wednesday, starting with the March meeting. Futures have factored in about 30 basis points of tightening.

The U.S. two-year yield, which reflects interest rate expectations, surged to 1.208% on Thursday, a nearly two-year peak.

Higher yields and interest rate hikes raise the opportunity cost of holding non-interest paying gold.

The dollar index soared to highs last seen in July 2020 against other major currencies, after the Fed said on Wednesday it could deliver faster and larger interest rate hikes in the months ahead.

Gold prices will drift lower in 2022 and 2023, as central banks raise interest rates, a Reuters poll showed.

Spot gold may retest a support at $1,792 per ounce, a break below which could cause a fall to $1,777, according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.

Spot silver was up 0.2% to $22.79 an ounce. Platinum rose 0.6% to $1,028.36 and palladium fell 0.8% to $2,356.20.

(Reporting by Asha Sistla in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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