Gold prices fall to 2-week lows as U.S. Fed dampens hopes of more rate cuts

Gold prices fell to two-week lows on Thursday after the U.S. Federal Reserve cut rates by 25 basis points as expected but tampered market expectations of a lengthy easing cycle, lifting the dollar to a two-year high.

Spot gold was down 0.2% at $1,410.42 per ounce as of 0259 GMT, after falling to its lowest since July 17 at $1,405.50.

U.S. gold futures slipped 1.2% to $1,421 an ounce.

“Adopting the rate cuts the way they (Fed) primed is more like an insurance policy rather than a commencement of series of rate cuts, that created a bit of uncertainty,” said John Sharma, an economist with National Australia Bank.

As expected by markets, policymakers moved the U.S. central bank’s benchmark overnight lending rate to a target range of 2.00% to 2.25%, citing concerns about the global economy and muted U.S. inflation.

However, Fed Chair Jerome Powell, speaking in a news conference after the release of the central bank’s statement, characterized Wednesday’s rate cut as “a mid-cycle adjustment to policy”, a sign to markets that further sharp cuts were not imminent.

“The Fed was non-committal for the need for further rate cuts as such gold was sold off,” said Heng Koon How, head of markets strategy at Singapore’s United Overseas Bank.

“Our longer-term gold view remains positive. Over the near-term, we can expect gold to trade within the $1,400 to $1,450 range.”

In the wake of Powell’s comments, the dollar rose 0.3% to a two-year high on Thursday, making gold more expensive for holders of other currencies.

“The dollar has broken out on the charts and looks like it is going to push higher still, yet another reason to pursue caution when it comes to the long side in the precious group,” INTL FCStone analyst Edward Meir said in a note.

Meanwhile, holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell 0.18% to 823.42 tonnes on Wednesday from Tuesday.

On the trade front, U.S. and Chinese negotiators ended a brief round of trade talks with little sign of progress and agreed to meet again in September, prolonging an uneasy truce in a year-long trade war between the world’s two largest economies.

Elsewhere, silver fell 0.5% to $16.17 per ounce, after touching a near two-week low of $16.10 earlier in the session.

Platinum dipped 0.5% to $855.25, after falling to its lowest since July 24 at $852.50, while palladium rose 0.3% to $1,521.03.

Source: Reuters