Gold prices have resumed trading in a tight range between $1,330 and $1,340 an ounce, as the dog days of August settle over markets. Aside from a short-lived jump in price on Friday, gold has been sticky in the present channel. Spot gold is trading about four dollars an ounce higher this morning, while December gold futures are down nearly the same amount. Spot silver is up less than a dime this morning in New York, while September silver futures are up less than a nickel.
Oil futures are logging a third day of gains, up nearly 1.5% in morning trading. The gain in oil prices is being fueled by rumors that OPEC oil ministers might actually talk about production ceilings next month September contracts for West Texas Intermediate are trading above $45 this morning, while October Brent futures are above $7 a barrel.
A slightly lower US dollar is helping both precious metals and oil this morning.
Gold had an up and down day on Friday. Spot gold jumped nearly $15 an ounce at the New York open, as the dollar corrected sharply on disappointing retail sales reports. Around noon Eastern Time, gold saw sudden selling pressure that pushed prices back down, just below unchanged. Spot gold closed down $2.60 Friday, to end at $1,335.70. December gold futures lost $6.80 to settled at $1,343.20 an ounce. This was enough to push gold futures barely into negative territory for the week, down 0.09%. Spot silver closed Friday for a 1.3% loss, shedding 26 cents to end at $19.64. September silver futures settled 1.6% lower on Friday, losing 32 cents to end at $19.70 an ounce. This pulled silver contracts down 0.6% for the week.
Stocks around the world are hitting multi-year or all-time highs, which is putting pressure on gold. Much of the upward pressure is coming from higher oil prices, which is lifting energy shares. Higher oil prices also push wholesale and consumer prices higher, which increases the chance of a hike in US benchmark interest rates by the Federal Reserve. Strength in crude prices were not overly affected by news from Baker Hughes that the US oil rig count had increased by 15, to 396 active operations.
Stocks gave back some of Thursday's gains Friday, with only the Nasdaq finishing in the green. The tech index tiptoed to another all-time high, closing up 4.5 points. The Baker Hughes rig count had more effect on sticks than it did on oil prices.
Precious metals will likely remain quiet until after Wednesday afternoon's release of the July Fed policy committee minutes.
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