Gold futures rose from an eight-month low as a decline in equities boosted demand for the precious metal as an alternative investment. Silver extended a slump to the cheapest in four years
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index of stocks fell as much as 1 percent. Purchases of previously owned U.S. homes declined in August for the first time in five months, government data showed. Commodities dropped to a five-year low, led by industrial metals and agriculture.
“Gold got some support from the weakness in equities and lower-than-expected U.S. home-sales data,” Bart Melek, the head of commodity strategy at TD Securities in Toronto, said in a telephone interview. “The overall sentiment remains bearish.”
On the Comex in New York, gold futures for December delivery rose 0.1 percent to settle at $1,217.90 an ounce at 1:36 p.m. Earlier, the price touched $1,208.80, the lowest for a most-active contract since Jan. 2. The metal, which jumped to $1,392.60 in March, has almost erased this year’s gain. On Dec. 31, the price settled at $1,202.30.
Gold has dropped 7.9 percent this quarter, while the dollar has climbed 5.4 percent against a basket of 10 currencies, reaching the highest since June 2010. Last week, the Federal Reserve raised its U.S. interest-rate projections for 2015 while affirming a pledge to keep borrowing costs low for a considerable time.
Silver futures for December delivery dropped 0.4 percent to $17.774 an ounce on the Comex. The price touched $17.325, the lowest since July 28, 2010. The metal has declined 8.2 percent this year.
In the spot market, an ounce of gold bought as many 69.67 ounces of silver, the most since June 2010.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, platinum futures for October delivery fell 0.5 percent to $1,330.20 an ounce. The metal touched $1,327, the lowest since Dec. 24.
Palladium futures for December delivery declined 1.2 percent to $803.15 an ounce.
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