Gold dips as dollar bounces; focus on U.S. election, Fed

Gold dips as dollar bounces; focus on U.S. election, Fed
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LONDON/BENGALURU (Oct 31): Gold edged lower on Monday as the dollar rebounded after recent losses, though concerns over the outlook for the U.S. election and Federal Reserve policy kept the metal pinned near the previous session's three-week high.

The metal hit its highest since Oct 4 on Friday, after the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced another investigation into Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's use of a personal email server while she was secretary of state.

That shook up markets that had priced in a Clinton victory over Republican Donald Trump, prompting losses in stocks and the dollar. A rebound in the U.S. currency on Monday pulled gold off last week's highs.

Spot gold was down 0.2% at US$1,273.68 an ounce at 1035 GMT. U.S. gold futures for December delivery were down US$2.30 at US$1,274.75. Spot prices remain within US$15 of Friday's high, however.

"People had been presuming the election was a done deal for Clinton," said Natixis analyst Bernard Dahdah. "If this means her lead is reduced, the gold market could benefit from that uncertainty."

October U.S. payrolls data on Friday will be of great interest this week, he said, while markets are looking for pointers on policy when the Fed meets on Tuesday and Wednesday.

"We're not expecting a rate hike in November, but we'll be looking at the language," Dahdah said. "That could be a mover."

While hardly anyone expects Fed Chair Janet Yellen and other Fed policymakers to move only a week before the Nov 8 election, they appear to have left themselves the December meeting to deliver a rate rise in 2016.

Gold is highly sensitive to rising U.S. interest rates, which increase the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion while boosting the dollar, in which it is priced.

Speculators raised their net long positions in COMEX gold for the first time in four weeks in the week to Oct 25 and cut it slightly in silver, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data showed on Friday.

Among other precious metals, silver was 0.3% higher at US$17.79 an ounce, but still on track to post a monthly decline.

Platinum was down 0.1% at US$978 and set to record its third consecutive monthly decline, while palladium, down 0.4% at US$616.80, was heading for its biggest
monthly drop since November, down 14%.

The current price weakness in platinum group metals is driven by speculation with no justification from fundamentals, Commerzbank said in a note.

"The downward pressure on palladium from ETF (exchange-traded funds) sales appears to be easing. We therefore continue to see palladium at US$625 per troy ounce at year's end."