Gold futures slid more than $10 on Wednesday in Europe trade, suggesting investor anxiety as Janet Yellen is set to testify before the U.S. House Financial Services Committee. Among other things, Yellen is expected to talk about future interest rate increase and the pace at which they will be unleashed.
The rout in gold market saw gold futures for April delivery drop 0.88% or $10.60 to $1,188.00 a troy ounce on New York Mercantile Exchange’s Comex division.On the day before, gold prices hedged up 0.06% or $0.70.
The gold market started the week on a positive note. On Monday, gold prices rose to an 8-month high of $1,201.40. The strength in the gold market on Monday and Tuesday were linked to hopes that prevailing weakness in the global economy, caused in part by collapsing oil prices, would make it difficult for Fed to hike interest rates to the levels it might have previously anticipated.
However, with Yellen scheduled to appear before the House finance committee to talk about coming interest rate increases, anxiety is visibly blanketing commodities market.
Defending December rate hike
In December, the Fed hike interest rate for the first time in nearly a decade. Yellen is expected to explain why the rate hike was important and also lay the ground for further rate increases.
Fed has indicated that four more interest rate hikes are on the way. However, investors would like to see fewer and slower rate increases if at all they are necessary in the prevailing economic conditions.
It is said that gradual hikes in interest rates is favorable for the commodities (gold) market compared to when rate hikes were to come in quick succession.
12% jump in gold price
Although Fed testimony is causing tension among investors, gold prices have been trading up this year. So far in 2016, gold prices are up near 12%. Part of the reason for the rise is that investors escaping rout in oil and gas market are finding safe havens in gold.