Metals Stocks: Gold ends higher with U.S. consumer confidence at a 6-month low


Gold futures ended higher on Tuesday, with prices to tallying a slight gain for the month, as the metal found support following data showing a drop in U.S. consumer confidence to the lowest level in six months.

Gold gained some ground on “downbeat U.S. economic data,” as the consumer confidence index and Chicago PMI weaken[ed] in August from July, Jim Wyckoff, senior analyst at, told MarketWatch.

U.S. consumer confidence slid to 113.8 this month from a revised 125.1 in July, the Conference Board said Tuesday. Separately, data showed that the Chicago PMI dropped to 66.8 in August from 73.4.

December gold


rose $5.90, or 0.3%, to settle at $1,818.10 an ounce after trading as low as $1,803.40. For the month, prices based on the most-active contract, finished up by less than $1 from the July 30 settlement of $1,817.20, according to Dow Jones Market Data.

Silver for December delivery


ended flat at nearly $24.01 an ounce, for a monthly fall of 6%.

If the U.S. dollar index continues to weaken that “would support gold, as would general stock and financial market instability,” said Wyckoff, adding that the “historically turbulent” months of September and October lie just ahead.

The ICE U.S. Dollar Index
a gauge of the currency against a half-dozen major currencies, fell to as low as 92.403 Tuesday, but was trading steady at 92.678, on track for a monthly rise of almost 0.6%.

The dollar, and financial markets broadly, are now keyed in to monetary policy, with some weakness in greenback coming on the back of Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s Jackson Hole speech, which was seen as positively supporting continued buying of precious metals. Powell offered no clear timetable this year for so-called tapering of monetary policies that have been accommodative to financial markets, which has helped to knock the dollar lower.

A weaker dollar can make dollar-pegged assets such as gold more appealing to overseas buyers.

“Markets are now trading on whether the Fed will signal tapering in September and start the process in November, or whether it will be pre-announced in November and implemented in December,” wrote Marios Hadjikyriacos, senior investment analyst at XM, in a daily research note.

Against the backdrop, Friday’s U.S. jobs report for August has come to hold heightened significance for financial assets.  

If the data come in significantly above market expectations, “talk of tapering and [interest] rate lift-off will heat up once again,” wrote Peter Grant in Zaner’s latest Grant on Gold newsletter. That may pressure gold prices.

Meanwhile, Craig Erlam cautioned that gold’s upside may be limited because of an eventual recovery of the economy from the highly transmissible delta strain of COVID-19.

“The economic recovery in the US may slow in the coming months as a result of the delta strain but it’s still very much on the right track. That may limit gold’s upside over the medium term,” the senior market analyst at Oanda wrote.

Among other Comex-traded metals, December copper

settled little changed at nearly $4.38 a pound — 2.4% lower for the month, the worst monthly performance since June.

October platinum

gained 1.2% to $1,014.10 an ounce, for a monthly loss of 3.3%, while December palladium

shed 0.3% to $2,471 an ounce, but down 7% for the month — the worst monthly performance since January.

The platinum group metals (PGMs) will be “hoping to see some improvement in August auto and truck sales data, out on Wednesday,” said Zaner newsletter writer Grant.

“However, the persistent chip shortage has led to tight vehicle supplies and higher prices, which has been pushing consumers into the used vehicle space,” he said. “Consequently, PGM demand has suffered as mining output and recycling continues to recover.”

Market Snapshot: U.S. stocks pause near records as investors prepare to close out a winning August

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