Firm U.S. dollar, elevated yields push gold prices to 8-1/2-month low

Silver drops to near one-month low

  
Gold bars are seen at the Kazakhstan's National Bank vault in Almaty, Kazakhstan, September 30, 2016.

Gold bars are seen at the Kazakhstan's National Bank vault in Almaty, Kazakhstan, September 30, 2016.

REUTERS/Mariya Gordeyeva/File Photo

Gold prices slumped to their lowest in 8-1/2 months on Tuesday, as a stronger dollar and elevated U.S. Treasury yields eroded investor appetite for the non-yielding metal.

Spot gold was down 0.7% at $1,711.13 per ounce by 0310 GMT, having dropped to its lowest since June 15 at $1,708.60 earlier in the session. U.S. gold futures  slipped 0.8% to $1,709.80.

The potential for higher yields is putting pressure on gold, while a stronger dollar is also contributing to its fall, Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets said, adding that a minor retreat in 10-year yields was "too small to count".

Benchmark U.S. Treasury yields have come down from a one-year high hit last week, but continue to remain elevated, while the dollar index held near a four-week peak. 

"Bond prices are clearly saying that by the mid-year, inflationary pressures will mean that global central banks would have to tighten their policy, while central banks suggest that will not be the case ... if inflation rises, they'll have very little choice," McCarthy said.

While gold is considered a shield against inflation, higher yields have of late threatened that status, since they translate into higher opportunity cost of holding bullion, which pays no return.

European Central Bank policymakers have been dropping hints that the central bank is ready to rein in yields and prevent a premature increase in borrowing costs for firms and households struggling to cope with a pandemic-induced recession. 

Focus also remains on the developments of the $1.9 trillion U.S. coronavirus relief bill that will be debated in the Senate this week. 

Holdings of the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, Gold Trust fell to their lowest since May 2020 on Monday. 

Silver eased 1.6% to $26.06 an ounce, having earlier dipped to a near one-month low. Palladium slipped 0.2% to $2,345.67 and platinum fell 0.8% to $1,175.

(Reporting by Sumita Layek in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips) ((Sumita.Layek@thomsonreuters.com; Within U.S. +1 646 223 8780, Outside U.S. +91 8061822693; Reuters Messaging: Sumita.Layek.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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