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Gold heads for worst month in over 4 years on hawkish Fed

Gold nudged up on Wednesday but was headed for its largest monthly decline since November 2016, as investors were wary ahead of the upcoming U.S. jobs data that could intensify fears over the U.S. Federal Reserve easing its asset purchases.

Spot gold rose 0.4% to $1,768.78 per ounce by 1:52 pm EDT (1752 GMT) having touched its lowest since April 15 at $1,749.20 per ounce on Tuesday. U.S. gold futures settled up 0.5% at $1,771.60.

Michael Matousek, head trader at U.S. Global Investors, attributed gold’s slight uptick to some bargain buying in an “oversold” market with prices having retreated as much as 8.6% from the highs hit in early June.

Gold prices have been weighed down by the Fed‘s sudden hawkish shift.

“The dollar is rallying, the S&P 500 has consistently forged new record highs,” said Phillip Streible, chief market strategist at Blue Line Futures in Chicago.

The dollar index gained 0.4%, making gold more expensive for other currency holders.

Additionally, hawkish Fed officials have re-affirmed they are going to raise rates in 2023 as well as start tapering bond purchases. “These are all things gold investors hate,” Streible added.

Investors now await the U.S. Labor Department’s nonfarm payrolls due on Friday, which is expected to show a gain of 690,000 jobs in June, according to a Reuters poll.

The data follows suggestions from Federal Reserve officials that the U.S. central bank should begin tapering its asset purchase program this year.

Matousek said gold’s appeal as an inflation hedge would remain intact as inflation will likely persist for longer despite a more hawkish Fed.

Elsewhere, silver rose 1.2% to $26.06 an ounce.

Palladium was up 3.8% at $2,780.45 an ounce but was set for a second straight month of declines.

Platinum gained 0.6% to $1,072.91 an ounce and was set for its biggest monthly and quarterly drop since March 2020.

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