Gold futures headed for back-to-back losses on Thursday and potentially the sharpest decline in bullion in over a week as the U.S. dollar popped higher.

Investors also note that prices for precious metals are expected to be choppy as investors await clarity from the U.S. Federal Reserve next week on its plans for tapering bond purchases that provided liquidity to markets during the worst of the pandemic back in the spring of 2020.

Metals traders also will be watching for clues on the timing of eventual interest-rate hikes. The Fed’s two-day gathering is set for Sept. 21-22.

December gold


was trading $21.60, or 1.2%, lower at $1,772.20 an ounce, which would mark the steepest daily decline for bullion since Sept. 7, when it fell $35.20, or 1.9%. On Wednesday, contracts fell 0.7%.

“Despite a lower inflation reading, investors reduced their exposure to gold due to the expectation that the [U.S. Federal Reserve] will begin tapering this year,” wrote Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at AvaTrade, in a daily note.

“Traders should note that the price of gold is likely to be volatile in the run-up to next week’s Fed meeting,” Aslam said.

Meanwhile, December silver

was down 48 cents, or 2%, to reach $23.32 an ounce, following a 0.4% decline on Wednesday.

Thursday’s metal moves come as the U.S. dollar, as measured by the ICE U.S. Dollar Index
was up 0.2% on the day and for the week so far. A stronger dollar can make assets priced in the currency comparatively more expensive to overseas buyers.

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