A reading of July’s Federal Reserve policy meeting minutes doused investor expectations of a near-term hike of lending rates. Gold can be seen rising as traders scramble for safe-havens in the absence of attractive yield-bearing assets.
Gold for December delivery could be seen at a session high of $1,361.45 a troy ounce in past midday trade trading in Europe on Thursday. The price of the yellow metal had already advanced earlier in the day in Asian trading.
Lack of interesting yield-assets favors gold
For the year, gold prices are up almost 27% and analysts say there is ample room for the price of bullion to continue climbing.
Historically low interest rates have kept investors away from yield-bearing assets such as bonds. Instead, they are holding on tightly to gold or buying the yellow metal. Though stocks have also tended to rally up, their gains are largely seen as driven by the availability of easy money. Central banks in Japan and the U.K. are trying to increase the supply of money in the market by stepping up their bond purchases.
Investors appeared to shrug off upbeat U.S. jobless claims data. The Labor Department said that initial unemployment claims in the last week fell by 4,000, steeper than the 1,000 decline that economists predicted for the week. However, investors didn’t seem to give much thought to the news as they continued to bid up gold prices, even after Fed minutes dented expectations of a near-term lending rates increase.
Skidding dollar creates a bargain
The dollar dipped to an 8-week low on Thursday following the overnight release of the Fed’s July policy meeting minutes that made investors believe the environment of low interest rates could persist. Yet, the weaker dollar offers a bargain opportunity for foreign buyers of dollar-denominated gold, which can be seen supporting the rise in the price of the yellow metal.
What’s the future of gold?
Though it might seem that gold prices will crash if the Fed surprisingly hikes borrowing costs before the end of the year, some analysts say that it is still possible for gold prices to reach new highs in 2016. The argument is that the possibility of a near-term lending rates increase by the Fed is already baked into the price of the yellow metal. As such, it will have little impact on the trade of bullion when it happens.
Analysts say gold will be likely range-bound between a low of $1,320 and high of $1,370.
In recent history, gold prices peaked in 2011 when they hit $1,923.70 per troy ounce. Then a downward spiral came late last year that saw the price of the metal dip to $1,045.40.
As it turns out, every time gold prices decline, the underlying cause is that traders are not accumulating more gold. It is hardly that traders are aggressively selling the gold in their possession.
The U.S. Presidential Election
The uncertainty created by the U.S. Presidential election coming in November favors gold trading. That arises because few traders are willing to step on the accelerator when it comes to selling gold given the prevailing political condition in the U.S.
As such, while fresh demand for gold may dim because of a rate hike, the yellow metal is likely to hold onto its gains as traders refuse to sell aggressively, explaining why analysts remain upbeat on the near-term prospects of gold.