Gold futures on Wednesday were pulling back from their highest values in two months ahead of a policy statement from the U.S. Federal Reserve.
“The central bank will have a big role to play on whether the yellow metal breaks above here or below $1,830 support,” wrote Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA, in a Wednesday research note.
February gold GCG22, -0.85% GC00, -0.85% fell $18.40, or 1%, to trade at $1,834.10 an ounce, following a 0.6% rise for the precious metal in the previous session, which saw the highest settlement for a most-active contract since Nov. 18, FactSet data showed.
The central bank’s policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee later Wednesday is expected to lay the groundwork for an interest rate increase in two months, and policy makers also may discuss how fast it will shrink its $9 trillion balance sheet once it is ready to do so.
The Fed will release its policy statement at 2 p.m. Eastern Time, a half-hour after the market for gold on Comex settles, with Chairman Jerome Powell scheduled to hold a news conference at 2:30 p.m.
Gold had been rising recently “even as the market has priced in four hikes and balance sheet reduction, which may suggest we’re seeing some inflation hedging in case more tightening is needed,” said Erlam. “Risk aversion may also be supporting the gold price. Either way, we should have more clarity” later Wednesday.
This week, gold has drawn safe-haven bids amid wild swings in values for stocks and geopolitical tensions in Europe, where there are fears about a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Chintan Karnani, director of research at Insignia Consultants, believes Ukraine tensions “will prevent any massive sell-off in gold and silver price” and that overall, both gold and silver will “rise or remain firm after the FOMC meeting due to heightened Ukraine tensions.”
Theoretically, gold should also benefit from rising inflation concerns because it is viewed as a hedge against pricing pressures, but the prospect of rising rates is a negative for precious metals which don’t offer a coupon.
Worries about the damaging effects rising interest rates could have on nonyielding bullion buying have been seen as a one of the main bearish near-term drivers for gold, keeping prices in check.
“The lack of a more sustained breakout can be attributed to two factors: the likelihood of rising interest rates punishing gold for its lack of yield,” wrote Rupert Rowling, market analyst at Kinesis Money, in a daily note.
The 10-year Treasury note yield TMUBMUSD10Y, 1.776% was at around 1.78% on Wednesday and the dollar was up 0.1%, per the U.S. ICE Dollar Index DXY, +0.21%, providing additional headwinds for bullion, which tends to be priced in dollars.