New York/London: Gold prices fell about 1 percent on Friday, posting its biggest weekly loss in seven weeks, as renewed anxiety about the US Federal Reserve could scale back its bond-buying stimulus prompted bullion investors to reduce positions.
The precious metal was down 3 percent for the week, reversing two consecutive weekly gains.
Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker said on Friday that the US labor market has recovered enough in the last 14 months to allow the central bank to reduce its bond-buying stimulus.
Any sign that the Fed will reduce its USD 85 billion monthly bond-buying program is likely to weigh heavily on gold prices.
Funds and institutional investors have in recent years bought gold as a hedge against inflation and monetary actions by central banks.
“Overall, investors have expected a reduction in monetary easing. So, even though there have been no changes effective this year, the market is selling off in anticipation of Fed tapering eventually,” said Erica Rannestad, precious metals analyst at the CPM Group.
Spot gold was down 0.9 percent at USD 1,311.50 an ounce by 2:57 p.m. EDT (1857 GMT), extending Thursday’s 1.4 percent slide. Spot gold has ended lower every day this week.
US Comex gold futures for December settled down USD 10.50 to USD 1,313.20 an ounce, with trading volume about 20 percent below its 30-day average, preliminary Reuters data showed.
The dollar rose to a six-week high after US data showed the country’s manufacturing sector expanded at its
fastest pace in 2-1/2 years last month, though a separate reading cast doubt on the strength of factory activity growth.
In addition, a sharp slowing in euro zone inflation, which left markets suddenly considering the chance of a cut in interest rates soon by the European Central Bank, weighed on the euro against the dollar.
As a gauge of investor sentiment, the SPDR Gold Trust, the biggest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, reported an outflow of 34 tonnes in October, its biggest monthly drop since July.
That brings its outflows for the year to 479 tonnes, or more than USD 20 billion this year. Holdings of the fund are near four-year lows of 872 tonnes.
Spot silver was down 0.4 percent to USD 21.76 an ounce. It had fallen 3.5 percent on Thursday, its biggest one-day loss in a month.
The biggest silver ETF, the iShares Silver Trust, also recorded a monthly outflow of 127.4 tonnes in October, its first since June.
Among the platinum group, platinum inched down 26 cents to USD 1,448.24, while palladium edged up 0.2 percent to USD 736.51 an ounce.