Gold prices in check as central banks rev up policy tightening

Gold prices held near one-week lows on Tuesday as investors wagered that aggressive tightening plans by major central banks would keep interest rates elevated for an extended period, boosting US Treasury yields and in turn the dollar. Spot gold was little changed at $1,842.46 per ounce, as of 0442 GMT, trading in a tight $5 range. Earlier in the session, bullion touched $1,836.10, its lowest since June 1. U.S. gold futures were steady at $1,844.90.

“The move higher in U.S. yields ahead of this week’s U.S. bond auction is spooking gold investors … The dollar is surging on the back of those higher yields,” said Stephen Innes, managing partner at SPI Asset Management. The dollar firmed as benchmark 10-year note yields climbed to their highest in nearly a month. Analysts at JP Morgan expect gold trading softer towards an average of $1,800 an ounce in the third quarter amid an expected rebound in investor risk sentiment and a continued rise in U.S. yields.

The Federal Reserve is on track for half-point interest rate increases in June and July, and last week’s solid jobs report boosted expectations of continued tightening by the U.S. central bank. The CPI report due on Friday is being awaited for further clues on the pace of U.S. rate hikes. The European Central Bank is also meeting later this week as investors ramp up their bets on rate hikes this year.

Higher rates dent gold’s appeal as they increase the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion. “Finally, we are in a global central bank rate-hike environment, which is initially bad for gold, but of course rate hikes come with economic growth consequence, hence, gold remains gingerly,” Innes said. Elsewhere, platinum fell 1.2% to $1,005.50 an ounce and palladium rose 0.5% to $2,012.69. Silver slipped 0.3% to $22.