(Bloomberg) — Gold declined from its highest level in almost five months as investors assess the latest comments from U.S. Federal Reserve officials for clues on a potential time frame for tapering stimulus. The dollar rose, adding further pressure to prices.
Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker said Wednesday it’s appropriate “to slowly, carefully move back” on bond purchases at a suitable time. Officials have said they will begin scaling back buying when the economy has made “substantial further progress” toward their goals, a condition many Fed-watchers believe will be met later this year.
William Dudley, former president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, says he thinks what the Fed is doing to sell holdings of its corporate bond facility established during the pandemic is “pretty unrelated” to monetary-policy tightening.
“I would not take that decision as implying anything about the timing of taper and the timing of actually lifting off and raising short-term interest rates,” he said.
Separately on Wednesday, the Fed released its Beige Book survey, which showed the pace of the U.S. recovery from the pandemic picked up in the past two months. Meanwhile, the Fed Board plans to begin gradually selling a portfolio of corporate debt purchased through an emergency lending facility launched last year, as Covid-19 was spreading panic through financial markets.
Bullion has stabilized near $1,900 an ounce in recent days amid growing demand for the haven asset, aided by signs of accelerating consumer prices and the risk of an uneven economic recovery. Traders will be watching Friday’s U.S. nonfarm payrolls report for May for further clues on the strength of the labor market and whether growth will spur inflation that could prompt governments and central banks to reduce stimulus.
Investors are shifting their focus to inflation from potential tapering risks, Suki Cooper, a precious metals analyst at Standard Chartered Bank, said in a Bloomberg TV interview on Thursday. The Fed’s view of inflation as transitory has helped lift gold prices higher, she added. BlackRock Inc. Chief Executive Officer Larry Fink also said the potential for a spike in inflation may be underestimated.
Spot gold declined 1.2% to $1,885.96 an ounce by 1:45 p.m. in London. Prices climbed to $1,916.64 on Tuesday, the highest since Jan. 8. Silver, palladium and platinum also fell. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose 0.3%.
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