Gold futures tally 3rd straight week of losses – MarketWatch

Gold futures settled lower on Friday to tally a third straight week of losses as investors awaited the Federal Reserve’s key decision on rates next week.

Gold futures for December delivery

GCZ5, -0.13%

 gave up $6, or 0.5%, to settle at $1,103.30 an ounce on Comex, for a weekly loss of 1.6%. Gold prices fell roughly 1.1% last week and 2.2% the week before that.

The Fed’s two-day policy meeting, starting Sept. 16, may set the tempo for gold’s moves, at least in the short term. The outcome of the Fed’s monetary-policy meeting appears uncertain as the central bank weighs lifting rates for the first time in almost a decade.

Read: Hilsenrath says Fed can’t agree on September rate hike

A rate increase would tend to push the U.S. dollar higher but that could put pressure on the price of dollar-denominated commodities like gold, making it more expensive to buyers in other currencies.

“Fears over China’s fast-weakening data are adding to the pressure ahead of next week’s U.S. rate decision,” Adrian Ash, head of research at BullionVault, told MarketWatch in an email.

But “if the Fed does raise, it will at least remove that threat from gold by becoming fact,” he said. “The growing consensus amongst bullion analysts is that Fed lift-off should mark an important near-term low for gold, kick-starting a relief rally.”

In his report Friday, Ash offered an interesting chart to show how gold has historically reacted to Fed rate-hiking cycles:

BullionVault, St. Louis Fed, LBMA

The table tracks gold’s percentage price-change over the three months before each hiking cycle begins, over the first three months after it starts, and over each cycle’s first 12 months, with average outcomes at the bottom, plus the average data for the entire period since 1970, said Ash.

Over the weekend, there will be some important data from China, “which could lead to increased volatility in the markets,” said Fawad Razaqzada, technical analyst at

“But gold has dropped despite a weaker dollar this week and continued uncertainty about the stock markets,” he said. “This does not bode well for the metal.”

Among other metals, December silver

SIZ5, -0.41%

lost 14 cents, or 1%, to $14.505 an ounce, for a weekly loss of 0.3%. December copper

HGZ5, +0.20%

 ended at $2.454 a pound, up less than a cent. It gained more than 6% for the week.

October platinum

PLV5, -0.98%

 fell $16.30, or 1.7%, to $964.90 an ounce, for a weekly loss of about 2.8%, while December palladium

PAZ5, +0.24%

 gave up $1.50, or 0.3%, to $591 an ounce, but still saw a weekly gain of roughly 2.4%.