Gold ticks up Friday morning, supported by fears that the virus’s Delta variant was continuing to spread. The yellow metal has been kept in check this week as the dollar climbed to the highest level in more than nine months. Palladium headed for its worst week since March 2020.
Gold was mostly rangebound this week as the dollar’s strength made gold less attractive as an alternate risk-off trade, But there was a floor under prices as cases of the coronavirus’s delta variant continued to spread, threatening the global economic outlook and dampening the stock market.
December gold futures rose 0.3% in the first four days of this week and settled $1.30 lower Thursday at $1,783.10 an ounce on Comex. The precious metal is down 1.9% so far this month after increasing for the third time in four months in July. Gold climbed $372 — or 24% — in 2020 because of uncertainty about the economy and the pandemic and is down 5.9% so far in 2021. The December contract is currently up $0.50 (+0.03%) an ounce to $1,783.60 and the DG spot price is $1,784.50.
Palladium and platinum, both used in the manufacture of computer chips for the automotive industry, came under pressure amid a shortage of the chips.
Spot palladium fell 5% Thursday to $2,321.50 an ounce and is down 13% so far this week. It’s also down 13% in August and 5.3% so far in 2021. The DG spot price is currently down $1.90 an ounce to $2,313.00.
Spot platinum lost 2.7% Thursday to $983.20 an ounce. The metal is down 5.3% so far this week. It has decreased 7.1% in August and is down 8.4% in 2021. Currently, the DG spot price is up $5.80 an ounce to $990.00.
Investors are awaiting additional signals from the U.S. Federal Reserve about the timetable of stimulus tapering measures to determine further direction. Dallas Fed President Rob Kaplan is scheduled to speak Friday, and the central bank’s annual gathering next week in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, could shed additional light on policymakers’ strategies and timelines.
The rapidly unraveling humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan also added geopolitical uncertainty to the mix, and that’s usually supportive for precious metals.
December silver futures fell 0.8%% Thursday to settle at $23.28 an ounce on Comex. The front-month contract — which rolled from September this week — is down 2.1% since Silver has lost 8.9% so far this month after dropping 2.5% in July. The metal rose 47% in 2020 and is down 12% so far this year. Silver prices are tied to industrial demand, which could taper if lockdowns are reinstated and dampen manufacturing. The December contract is currently down $0.074 (-0.32%) an ounce to $23.205 and the DG spot price is $23.22.
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