Gold futures on Monday were swinging between modest gains and losses to start the week, as investors struggled to parse market developments, including a perkier dollar and reports of the Federal Reserve moving toward a concrete plan to unwind some aspects of COVID-era easy-money policies.

Contracts for gold saw a leg higher after data from the New York state region, the Empire State factory index, plunged to 18.3 in August from 43 in the prior month.

At last check, December gold

was up $3.40, or 0.2%, at $1,781.50 an ounce, trading at its highest level since early August, following a nearly 0.9% weekly gain put in for the most-active contract on Friday. The yellow metal touched an intrasession high at around $1,784.40 and a low of $1,772, FactSet data show.

Bullion had been under pressure against the backdrop of political unrest in the Middle East, including the takeover of Afghanistan, which was stoking modest buying in safe-haven assets, with the 10-year Treasury note

yielding 1.28% from 1.297% on Friday.

Bearish factors for gold, however, keeping prices for precious metal in check, were data that highlighted an economic slowdown brewing in China, one of the biggest buyers of commodities including gold, amid the spread of the delta variant of COVID-19.

On top of that, Fed officials were seen moving toward an agreement on a timetable that could result in the central bank begin scaling back its monthly purchases of $120 billion in Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities, in about three months if the economic recovery continues, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

Moves to withdraw accommodation are seen as potentially bearish for precious metals because it could push yields for Treasurys, which compete with gold for haven demand, higher.

Still, some bullish strategists see gold retaining some upward momentum after last week’s rebound.

“The bulls still have some momentum on their side,” wrote Jim Wyckoff, analyst at “A bit more anxiety in the marketplace this week may also support the precious metals markets, on some safe-haven demand,” he wrote, in a daily note.

Meanwhile, silver for September delivery

 was down 14 cents, or 0.6%, at $23.64 an ounce, after a 2% weekly decline.

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