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Gold rose in the early part of the Asian trading session in the wake of a retreating U.S dollar, but has been edging lower in early European trading hours as the greenback claimed back its strength ahead of the release of the minutes from the September FOMC meeting, which are due to be released later today.
The precious metal has lost about 10% compared to the 28 month peak level of $1375.00 per ounce recorded in early July this year. Particularly, since September 28th, gold has dropped more than 6.7% amid signs of improving U.S. economic data and hawkish comments from Fed officials that have fueled expectations that the U.S Federal Reserve will raise interest rates by the year end.
Minutes from the September meeting of the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee (FOMC) are scheduled to be released at 18:00 GMT on Wednesday. At the last meting, policy makers left the federal funds rate target unchanged and maintained the target range of 0.25% to 0.5%. However, 3 of the 10 voting members of the FOMC including Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren had dissented the decision, and voted for a rate increase instead.
Rosengren has been considered as being dovish for a long time, as he has supported ultra-low rates in order to push down unemployment. With the number of new jobs added remaining steady month after month, and the jobless rate at or below 5 percent so far this year, Rosengren urged his colleagues to tighten policy to avoid overheating the labor market and triggering inflation.
The minutes are expected to provide markets with more details about the division within Fed officials. A hawkish leaning within the Fed, may cement the likelihood of a hike in December and consequently push up the U.S dollar. Traders have priced in only an 8.3% probability that the Fed will raise rates at its November meeting, but the chance of such a move by mid-December has risen to nearly 70%, according to the CME’s Fed Watch Tool.
The yellow metal is highly sensitive to U.S. interest rates. Not only will a strengthening greenback reduce gold’s appeal as it makes the dollar-denominated asset more expensive for investors holding other currencies, but higher yields from interest-bearing assets such as bonds will also dampen the metal’s competitiveness.
As stated by the Associated Chambers of Commerce of India, the country’s gold imports declined by 58.96% to 270 tons in the period January to September 2016, from 658 tons that were imported during the same period last year. According to the research report, gold imports declined partly due to a prolonged strike by jewelers in March and April to demand a roll back of the 1% excise duty that was imposed on gold and silver jewelry.
Another reason for the downturn in Indian gold imports is the continuation of the 10% customs duty on import of gold bars, which has spurred smuggling of gold, leading to a decline in official imports and reported numbers.
Fig: GOLD D1 Technical Chart
Gold has been trading sideways for five trading days in a row above the 38.2% retracement level at around 1250.00. With the cautiousness on the fundamental side, and the fact that the gold market has entered the oversold zone, sellers have restrained the downward push and are simply waiting it out. If the minutes are not in favor of the precious metal, gold can breach the 38.2% level and collapse to as low as the 50.0% level.
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