Gold Price Weakens on Caution Ahead of Fed Rate Decision

Global gold price drop conceptThe gold price retreated for a third session today, with investors watchful ahead of the Federal Open Market Committee’s decision on interest rates that may provide clues on the pace of future U.S. interest rate hikes.

Gold futures for April delivery shed 1.1% to settle at $1,231 a troy ounce. That was the lowest settlement since March 1.

May silver fell 1.7% to $15.261 a troy ounce, expanding its one-month retreat to 3.3%.

The Fed’s two-day meeting is slated to conclude with a policy decision tomorrow, followed by a news conference with Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen.

Most predict the Fed to keep monetary policy unchanged, and many analysts forecast just one interest-rate hike is coming this year, in June. Higher U.S. rates make it more expensive to own gold, which doesn’t yield interest, and instead prefers the dollar.

Meanwhile, a rout in the oil price dragged down U.S. equities today. As of 3:17 p.m. in New York, the S&P 500 was down 0.3% at 2,014, and the NASDAQ Composite fell 0.5% at 4,729. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was in positive territory, reversing its earlier course.

Elsewhere in metals, April platinum declined or 0.6%, to $959.80 an ounce, while June palladium gave up 0.4%, to $570.70 an ounce.

Bullion has lost 0.6% over the past month but it’s still the best-performing 2016 investment with a 16.1% gain.