Gold prices dipped slightly on Wednesday, after touching a near six-week high in the previous session, as the market awaited the US Federal Reserve's policy statement and amid concerns over a potential British exit from the European Union.
Gold fell from the previous session’s six-week high ahead of a Federal Reserve policy decision later on Wednesday, though concerns over an upcoming vote on Britain’s membership of the European Union underpinned prices.
The metal has rallied for the last five sessions as assets seen as higher risk, such as shares, saw heavy losses on the back of Brexit fears, while yields on safe-haven German Bunds fell below zero for the first time. Gold has taken a breather, however, as dealers await the Fed meeting.
The metal is highly sensitive to U.S. interest rates, increases in which lift the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding gold, while boosting the dollar, in which it is priced. Spot gold was down 0.3 percent at $1,281.34 an ounce at 0930 GMT, while U.S. gold futures for August delivery were down $3.30 an ounce at $1,284.80. The Fed is expected to keep interest rates unchanged on Wednesday and signal if it still plans to raise rates twice in 2016 amid concerns about a U.S. hiring slowdown and Britain’s possible exit from the European Union.
“It’s unlikely that the Fed will press ahead with a rate hike,” Capital Economics analyst Simona Gambarini said. “The general feeling is that even July could be quite a stretch, and that September is actually more likely.” “The rally in the gold price has been prompted by Brexit and the potential impact the UK leaving could have on U.S. monetary policy as well as the global economy. That is the next event to look for.”
European shares rose and sterling gained against the dollar and yenon Wednesday. The pound is recovering from a slide to two-month lows on concerns over next week’s Brexit referendum.
Gold priced in sterling was down nearly 1 percent after hitting its highest in nearly three years on Tuesday. Holdings in SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, rose 0.27 percent to 898.67 tonnes on Tuesday, the highest since October 2013. Appetite for gold in Asia, home to the world’s biggest physical bullion markets, was muted overnight.
“Today’s FOMC announcement is likely resulting in many participants taking a back seat and the metal held a narrow range accordingly,” MKS said in a note. Among other precious metals, silver was flat at $17.38 an ounce, platinum was up 0.5 percent at $978.25 an ounce and palladium was up 1.2 percent at $539.50 an ounce.