Gold futures advanced to the highest in a month on speculation that the Federal Reserve will maintain stimulus to boost economic growth.
U.S. orders to manufacturers unexpectedly dropped in September, while consumer sentiment sank in October to a 10-month low, separate reports showed. Chances that the Fed will trim its $85 billion of monthly bond purchases have “diminished greatly” on growth concerns, said Carl Tannenbaum, the chief economist for Northern Trust Corp.
“The belief that the Fed will have to maintain the pace of stimulus is supporting gold and putting downward pressure on the dollar,” David Lee, a vice president at Heraeus Precious Metals Management in New York, said in a telephone interview.
Gold futures for December delivery gained 0.2 percent to settle at $1,352.50 an ounce at 1:37 p.m. on the Comex in New York, after touching $1,356.40, the highest since Sept. 20. The precious metal added 2.9 percent this week, the second straight increase.
Bullion has declined 19 percent this year, set for the first annual drop in 13 years, as some investors lost faith in the metal as a store of value.
The metal rose 70 percent from December 2008 to June 2011 as the central bank pumped more than $2 trillion into the financial system. Some investors buy gold and silver as a hedge against accelerating consumer prices and protection against currency weakness.
Silver futures for December delivery dropped 0.8 percent to $22.639 an ounce in New York. Prices are down 25 percent this year, the second-worst performer on the Standard & Poor’s GSCI index of 24 raw materials.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, platinum futures for January delivery fell less than 0.1 percent to $1,455.50 an ounce. Palladium futures for December delivery rose less than 0.1 percent to $747.90 an ounce on the Nymex.
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