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Thursday, May 28, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Gold ‘getting hit from all directions’ as investors flee funds

By Eddie Van Der Walt and Susanne Barton Bloomberg

Everything’s against gold at the moment.

Gold futures closed at the lowest level since February as the Federal Reserve geared up to raise rates, while U.S. equities at record levels lure money out of havens and fund holdings wither. Assets in bullion-backed exchange-traded funds contracted for a 20th straight day as of Thursday, the longest stretch since May 2013.

The precious metal is ending 2016 on the ropes as investors price in the Fed’s probable move next week, pushing bond yields higher amid the likelihood of further hikes in 2017. A gauge of the dollar has climbed since the U.S. election, while the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones industrial average are at all-time highs amid speculation President-elect Donald Trump’s policies will spur growth. Investors are also assessing the European Central Bank’s decision on Thursday to tweak its bond buying.

“The rally in the dollar, bond yields edging higher and the positive performance of the equity markets are signs of risk-on appetite, which is negative for gold,” said James Steel, chief precious metals analyst at HSBC Holdings Plc in New York. A rate hike “looks pretty likely.”

Gold futures for February delivery fell 0.9 percent to settle at $1,161.90 at 1:59 p.m. on the Comex in New York. It’s the lowest close since February. Bullion dropped 1.3 percent on the week for a fifth consecutive weekly loss, the longest run since November 2015.

“Gold’s getting hit from all directions,” said Tom Kendall, head of precious metals strategy at ICBC Standard Bank Plc in London. “We have very weak physical markets, we’ve had this surge in bond yields and equities, ETF outflows and talk of Trump’s fiscal stimulus, all of which conspired to push down prices.”

Investors see a near 100 percent probability U.S. policy makers will raise the benchmark rate at their Dec. 13-14 meeting to deliver the first rate increase of the year. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index surged 3.9 percent in November for the biggest monthly increase in two years.

The metal’s most accurate bullion forecaster tracked by Bloomberg in the third quarter said there may be more pain ahead. Barnabas Gan, an economist at Singapore-based Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp., sees gold at $1,175 an ounce in the first quarter, $1,150 in April to June, $1,125 in the third period and $1,100 by the fourth.

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