Gold futures edged higher on Friday, but still ended the week down more than 2% amid expectations the Federal Reserve will start raising interest rates at its next policy meeting in September.
Comments by Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer on Friday suggested that the door was still open for a rate hike at the Fed’s next meeting due to take place September 16-17.
Fischer said that the case for a rate increase in September was “pretty strong”, though it was still too soon to say what the central bank might do.
The timing of a Fed rate hike has been a constant source of debate in the markets in recent months.
Expectations of higher borrowing rates going forward is considered bearish for gold, as the precious metal struggles to compete with yield-bearing assets when rates are on the rise.
Gold for December delivery on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange tacked on $11.40, or 1.02%, to end Friday’s session at $1,134.00 a troy ounce.
For the week, prices of the precious metal dropped $26.20, or 2.21%, the worst weekly loss in about a month.
Gold fell to a five-and-a-half year low of $1,072.30 on July 24 amid speculation the Fed will raise interest rates in September for the first time since 2006.
The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, inched up 0.4% on Friday to close at 96.15, the strongest level since August 20.
The index rose 1.2% on the week as upbeat U.S. economic data fanned expectations that the Fed will raise interest rates next month.
Also on the Comex, silver futures for September delivery advanced 11.8 cents, or 0.82%, on Friday to settle at $14.53 a troy ounce by close of trade. Prices plunged to $13.91 on Wednesday, a level not seen since August 2009.
On the week, silver futures tumbled 81.0 cents, or 5.01%, the biggest weekly decline since mid-February.