Gold prices slipped, after touching a near a four-week high earlier on Monday, as the dollar ticked up from its lows and investors showed caution in the run-up to the release of a key U.S. jobs report later in the week.
Spot gold fell 0.4% to $1,808.67 per ounce by 1:33 p.m. ET after touching its highest level since Aug. 4. U.S. gold futures settled down 0.4% at $1,812.2.
Gold initially rose on Monday in the wake of U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s speech to the annual Jackson Hole economic conference on Friday.
Powell said tapering of the U.S. central bank’s bond-buying program could happen this year but gave no indication as to the exact timeline for the Fed to start cutting its asset purchases, sending gold higher.
However, gold then fell as the dollar index, which had slipped to nearly a two-week low in the wake of Powell’s speech, attempted a rebound.
“The marketplace is starting to get a sense that there will be some tapering this year but maybe not with the aggressiveness that would spook the marketplace,” said Jim Wyckoff, senior analyst at Kitco Metals.
Wyckoff, however, said that caution ahead of the scheduled release on Friday of the U.S. nonfarm payrolls report could weigh on gold this week, with a strong number potentially giving hawkish Fed officials more leverage in arguing for a move away from ultra-easy monetary policy.
Higher interest rates increase the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion.
Carsten Menke, head of next generation research at Julius Baer, said comments made at the Jackson Hole conference should have no “fundamental” impact on gold and silver.
“We remain very much convinced about a continued economic recovery and a temporary inflation spike, leading gold and silver prices somewhat lower,” Menke said, noting that inflation and the economic recovery were key drivers for the market.
Silver fell 0.3% to $23.93 per ounce, platinum dropped 0.3% to $1,004.48 and palladium rose 2.5% to $2,479.50.