Gold falls 1.5% on month, loses 4.8% on quarter

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Gold futures registered a fourth straight day of losses, settling at their lowest level in more than two weeks, as a climb in the U.S. stock market and strength in the dollar dulled the metal’s investment appeal on Wednesday.

The session’s decline contributed to the metal’s losses for the month, quarter and year.

December gold GCZ5, -0.10%  settled at $1,115.20 an ounce on Comex, down $11.60, or 1%, for the session. Based on the most-active contracts, prices lost 1.5% for the month and 4.8% for the quarter. Year to date, gold is down 5.8%.


A reading showing that U.S. companies added a better-than-expected 200,000 private-sector jobs in September, according to payroll processor ADP, helped the metal extend its losses early in the session.

Upbeat economic data may boost prospects that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates this year, which in turn could provide support for the U.S. dollar DXY, +0.13% Higher rates can be a drag on gold, which doesn’t bear interest, and a stronger greenback can dull demand for dollar-denominated commodities.

“The dollar’s rise has been a wrecking ball for commodity-sensitive assets this year,” said Ken Ford, president of Warwick Valley Financial Advisors. The ICE U.S. Dollar Index has gained more than 6% year to date.

 

Among the other metals, December silver SIZ5, +0.29%  lost 5.5 cents, or 0.4%, to $14.518 an ounce. Prices, based on the most-active contracts, saw a 6.8% quarterly decline and a 0.5% monthly decline in September. Year to date, they were down 6.9%.

 

Adrian Ash, head of research at BullionVault, said the prospect of an interest-rate hike is still looming, and worries about the economic health of big commodity importer China also have helped fuel that price slump.

Ash said confusion reigns among metals buyers. Some argue that prices for assets like gold might pick up suddenly just as they did during the 2008 financial crisis, when the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers stoked panic in global markets.

 

“Maybe it’s the end of the world. Or nothing to worry about. If that feels oddly like mid-2008 to you…when gold slid 25% in 4 months, even as the collapse of Lehman Brothers drew near to mark the sharpest plunge in global trade since the 1930s…you aren’t alone,” Ash said in a recent note.

 

On Comex Wednesday, October platinum PLV5, +0.36% lost $9.90, or 1.1%, to end at $907.20 an ounce, with prices 25% lower year to date. Read: Volkswagen’s scandal is whacking platinum prices, lifting palladium

December palladium, meanwhile, PAZ5, +0.78% fell $6.75, or 1%, to $650.95 an ounce. Prices have skidded nearly 19% for the year so far.

 

December high-grade copper HGZ5, +1.45%  picked up 9 cents, or 4%, at $2.341 a pound, but the base metal has plunged 17% year to date.