Gold slumped below $1 800 an ounce as the Federal Reserve sped up its expected pace of policy tightening amid optimism about the labour market and heightened concerns over inflation.
The metal slipped to the lowest in six weeks on Thursday as the dollar continued to strengthen, a day after Fed Chair Jerome Powell said the central bank would begin a discussion about scaling back bond purchases. It’s the first major hawkish turn from the central bank whose deluge of stimulus has been critical to bullion’s strong performance since the start of the pandemic.
The central bank also released forecasts that show it anticipates two interest-rate increases by the end of 2023 — sooner than many thought — which helped boost the dollar and US bond yields, hurting gold. Bullion, which declined the most in five months on Wednesday, broke through a number of key technical support levels, including falling below its 100-day moving average.
“We have a negative outlook, expecting gold to fall to $1 600 an ounce over the next six to 12 months,” said Giovanni Staunovo, an analyst at UBS Group AG. “At some point the Fed will not talk about taper but also implement it.”
Spot gold declined 1.7% to $1 780.84 an ounce as of 10:46 a.m. New York time after earlier dropping to $1 775.10, the lowest intraday level since May 5. Silver, platinum and palladium also declined. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index gained 0.4%.
Bullion fell as investors weigh the outcome of the Fed’s two-day gathering. Despite the hawkish pivot, Powell said the interest-rate forecasts “should be taken with a big grain of salt,” and cautioned that discussions about raising rates would be “highly premature.” The central bank also upped its inflation forecasts, though Powell continued to insist price pressures would prove transitory.
“Once again the million dollar question is whether inflation will be a passing phenomenon or longer lasting?” Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank A/S, said in a note. “For now the market trusts the judgment of the Federal Reserve and until data potentially proves them wrong, gold and with that also silver may face another challenging period.”