Gold firms as safe-haven demand counters pressure from U.S. yields

If yields keep rising, headwinds will be significant- analyst

Gold bullion is displayed at Hatton Garden Metals precious metal dealers in London, Britain July 21, 2015.

Gold bullion is displayed at Hatton Garden Metals precious metal dealers in London, Britain July 21, 2015.


Gold prices edged higher in a tight range on Monday, as a risk-off sentiment in equity markets buoyed the safe-haven metal, although bullion was still pressured by rising U.S. Treasury yields.

Spot gold ticked up 0.2% at $1,770.30 per ounce by 10:33 a.m. EDT (1433 GMT), while U.S. gold futures GCv1 rose 0.1% to $1,770.30.

"We're also seeing risk aversion in the market and the dollar isn't seeing the usual support, which may be keeping gold afloat for now," OANDA analyst Craig Erlam said.

However, "If yields keep rising, the headwinds will remain significant for gold unless markets start to price in bad news for the economy and stock markets, which may be a rational next step if policymakers insist on tightening even as the recovery remains sluggish and downside risks significant."

Sentiment in wider financial markets remained weak as economic growth in China slowed, while a relentless surge in oil prices fuelled concerns about elevated inflation.

U.S. benchmark 10-year Treasury yields climbed as investors ramped up rate hike bets, while the dollar index held steady.

While gold is seen as an inflation hedge, it also contends with the greenback for safe-haven status and reduced central bank stimulus and interest rate hikes push government bond yields up, weighing on non-yielding bullion.

Market participants are increasingly expecting the U.S. Federal Reserve to start tapering asset purchases soon after data showed a solid increase in U.S. consumer prices. 

"In the event that the Fed hastens its policy tightening agenda, strengthening the dollar along the way, that should weaken the floor below bullion," said Han Tan, chief market analyst at Exinity.

Spot silve  fell 0.2% to $23.23 per ounce, platinum was down 1.6%, at $1,038.14, and palladium shed 2.7% to $2,017.18, its lowest in over a week.

(Reporting by Bharat Govind Gautam and Arundhati Sarkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber) ((; +91-80-6182-3021/ 3590 (If within U.S. call 651-848-5832 );))

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