Gold Prices Drifting Lower

Gold prices are lower Thursday morning, reacting to the Federal Reserve’s comments about a series of interest rate hikes in 2022 and 2023, and imminent start start of tapering of its bond-buying program from the later part of this year.

However, a weak dollar is limiting gold’s downside. The dollar index is at 93.19, down nearly 0.3% from the previous close.

Gold futures for December are down $7.30 or 0.41% at 1,771.50 an ounce, off a low of $1,760.10 an ounce touched earlier.

Silver futures are lower by $0.227 or about 1% at $22.680 an ounce.

The Fed said in the announcement of its latest monetary policy decision that a “moderation in the pace of asset purchases may soon be warranted” if progress towards its dual goals continues broadly as expected.

The central bank currently plans to continue its bond purchases at a rate of at least $120 billion per month but is expected to begin scaling back later this year.

During his post-meeting press conference, Fed Chair Jerome Powell indicated the central bank could begin tapering its asset purchases as soon as its next meeting in early November.

A report released by the Labor Department a little while ago showed first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits unexpectedly increased for the second straight week in the week ended September 18th.

The Labor Department said initial jobless claims rose to 351,000, an increase of 16,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 335,000.

With the uptick, jobless claims climbed further off the pandemic-era low of 312,000 set in the week ended September 4th.

Economists had expected jobless claims to dip to 320,000 from the 332,000 originally reported for the previous month.

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