By Rachel Koning Beals
Gold futures slipped Wednesday, remaining snarled in tight trading ranges alongside the dollar as investors hope for clarity this week on the near-term path for interest rates.
Precious metals and the dollar have twisted amid shifting expectations about the Fed’s interest-rate policy, especially ahead of a closely watched retreat in Jackson Hole, Wyo., where Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen will speak on Friday. Economists have said the Fed itself remains very data-dependent as it looks ahead to the final policy meetings of 2016, but that’s done little to dissuade market speculation.
Early Wednesday, December gold GCZ6, -0.27% slipped $4.80, or 0.4%, to $1,341.30 an ounce.
The dollar largely gained versus major rivals, leaving the ICE Dollar Index DXY, +0.20% up a slim 0.1%. U.S. stocks also lacked clear direction in the paralyzing wait for the Fed’s next clues.
A firmer dollar tends to make the gold priced in this currency less attractive to investors. Higher interest rates can also turn investors away from nonyielding gold in favor of alternatives that typically fare better in a rising-rate climate.
Despite the back-and-forth pull, there’s a near-term bias in favor of the dollar and against gold, said Ilya Spivak, currency strategist, with FXCM’s DailyFX.
“A shift in priced-in policy bets implied in Fed funds futures hints investors are leaning toward a hawkish outcome, hinting the greenback may find fuel for greater gains as the end of the week draws closer,” he said.