Gold declines to 7-week low on Fed outlook, ETF holdings

March 31, 2014 06:10 PM
Silver also slides

Gold fell to a seven-week low, extending the first monthly drop this year, as investors weighed the outlook for the Federal Reserve’s policy. Holdings in the largest exchange-traded product shrank the most in five weeks.

Bullion for immediate delivery lost as much as 0.5 percent to $1,278.20 an ounce, the lowest since Feb. 11, and traded at $1,282.24 by 9:41 a.m. in Singapore, according to Bloomberg generic pricing. Whilegold capped a 3.2 percent drop in March, prices increased 6.7 percent this year as a rout in emerging markets and Russia’s annexation of Crimea boosted haven demand.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen said yesterday that the U.S. will need monetary stimulus for “some time,” before data today that may show a gauge of manufacturing climbed last month. Yellen said March 19 that the central bank might start raising the benchmark interest rate about six months after ending its bond- purchase program, expected later this year.

“The near-term sentiment for gold appears negative,” Howard Wen, an analyst at HSBC Securities (USA) Inc., wrote in a note. Gold’s decline from the year’s high on March 17 “was largely explained by the combination of receding geopolitical tensions and the Fed’s guidance for higher interest rates.”

Gold for June delivery slid as much as 0.5 percent to $1,277.40 an ounce on the Comex in New York, the lowest for a most-active contract since Feb. 11, extending a 2.9 percent decline in March. Holdings in the SPDR Gold Trust fell 3.89 metric tons yesterday, the most in tonnage terms since Feb. 19.

Silver for immediate delivery fell 0.4 percent to $19.6886 an ounce, extending a 6.8 percent retreat in March. Platinum decreased 0.2 percent to $1,415.38 an ounce after completing the first monthly drop in four months.

Palladium lost 0.7 percent to $771.50 an ounce, after gaining for two months on concern that more sanctions by the U.S. and the European Union against Russia and a strike at South African mines will reduce supplies. The countries are the largest producers of the metal.

--With assistance from Phoebe Sedgman in Melbourne. 

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