Gold futures marked their first advance Monday after nine straight sessions of losses, underpinned by uncertainty surrounding elections in the Netherlands, after strong expectations for a Federal Reserve interest-rate hike on Wednesday clobbered precious metals.
Gold for April delivery rose $1.70, or 0.1%, to settle at $1,203.10. The contract ended at $1,201.40 an ounce Friday — the lowest finish since Jan. 30. The metal’s nine-session slide had marked the longest streak of declines since July 2015, FactSet data showed.
May silver also rose 4.9 cents, or 0.3%, Monday to finish at $16.972 an ounce.
Futures prices for gold posted a decline of roughly 2% last week, while silver lost about 4.6%.
But gold’s ability to hold ground late last week above the key $1,200-an-ounce level helped set up a possible short-term rebound for the yellow metal on Monday. The prospect of higher interest rates, with the Federal Reserve’s looming decision March 15, can boost the allure of holding the dollar and erode demand for dollar-priced commodities like gold.
The “bull camp” for gold
“simply has to fret over the looming FOMC rate decision, and this week might bring about an extension of the sell the rumor before it manages to buy the fact later in the week,” said analysts at Zaner Group, in a note Monday.
The Fed-funds futures market is currently pricing in a nearly 90% chance that the Fed will raise interest rates at the conclusion of its two-day meeting Wednesday, according to CME’s FedWatch Tool.
The ICE U.S. Dollar Index was up by 0.1% Monday as gold futures settled.
Global investors also were focused on Wednesday’s Dutch parliamentary elections. The risk of a euroskeptic party emerging there is small, but a notable election performance could renew market concerns about the popularity of the anti-euro, far-right party in French presidential elections in April and May. Amid this uncertainty, investors may prefer increased holdings in gold, which is considered a haven asset in times of uncertainty.
Recent polls in the Netherlands showed nationalist candidate Geert Wilders falling behind mainstream opponents, and this gave a lift to the euro and put pressure on the dollar on Friday, said analysts at Zaner Group.
“while the April gold contract managed to initially reject the latest new low for the move and temporarily climb back above the $1,200 level on Friday, the view toward gold and silver looks to remain negative going forward,” they said.
Other metals Monday ended higher, with April platinum adding $3, or 0.3%, to $941.20 an ounce and June palladium up $9.30, or 1.3%, to $754.45 an ounce.