Gold futures drifted near unchanged Friday, recovering earlier deeper losses that came at the hands of a firmer dollar, as the metal headed for a narrow weekly drop.
The U.S. currency has drawn global buying interest Friday as a shelter from an economic crisis in Turkey and market volatility kicking up in Russia. Gold, too, has historically had a role as a haven asset in times of global market turbulence. Instead, the precious metal’s inverse relationship to a firmer dollar, boosted in large part by rising U.S. interest rates relative to other major economies, has held the upper hand recently, as it did again on Friday.
December gold was up 50 cents, or less than 0.1%, at $1,220.50 an ounce. It has traded as low as roughly $1,213 and as high as $1,222 so far intraday. The contract is headed for a 0.2% weekly decline and remains near the lows of the year. It’s down about 1.2% for August so far and off about 8.6% in the year to date.
Global markets stumbled following a Financial Times report that the European Central Bank is growing more concerned about exposure of European banks to Turkey’s woes. The Turkish lira plunged to its lowest in a year against the U.S. dollar on Friday.
“Since gold is also denominated in dollars, a strengthening greenback renders the yellow metal less attractive for investors using foreign currencies,” said Marios Hadjikyriacos, market strategist with brokerage XM.
“That said, considering how much the dollar has soared since yesterday, gold has been holding up relatively well, admittedly, with the area around $1,200 providing notable support.”
The ICE U.S. Dollar Index was up 0.6% at 96.18 Friday, hitting a roughly one-year high. And the 10-year Treasury note yield lost 3.6 basis points to 2.899%, a day after marking its largest one-session yield decline since July 3. U.S. stocks opened lower though remain near record highs.
Russia’s market volatility added to the global theme. Newly announced U.S. sanctions—and the potential for a second round of actions in 90 days—roiled Russia’s currency and blue-chip stocks as the country braced for further economic pain amid uncertainties over the Trump administration’s commitment to enforcement. In Moscow, the ruble shed as much as 5% against the dollar on Thursday and stock averages there plunged as much as 9%.
Gold firmed slightly after a reading on consumer price inflation came in largely as expected and showed a continued uptick for particular economic hot spots. Inflation data poses a mixed scenario for gold. Short term, it’s likely to keep the Fed’s hand on the rate-hike lever, a gold-negative development; longer term, gold often serves as a hedge against inflation’s corrosive effects on other assets.
Government data showed that the 12-month rate of core inflation rose to 2.4%, the highest rate since September 2008. Financial markets continue to watch for any evidence that might knock the Fed off its projected path to raise interest rates twice more this year and three times next year. The CPI data keeps those Fed projections in place.
Around other trading, September silver fell 7 cents, or 0.5%, to $15.39 an ounce. It is down 0.7% for the week and remains down over 11% so far in 2018, falling a sharp 4.3% in just the past 30 days.
A popular metals exchange-traded fund, the SPDR Gold Trust was up 0.2%. The comparable silver ETF, the iShares Silver Trust was flat.
September copper fell 2 cents, or 0.7%, to $2.746 a pound. October platinum fell $1.60, or 0.2%, at $832.50 an ounce, while September palladium fell $2.90, or 0.3%, to $895.50 an ounce.