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Gold is back to a currency play, with prices surging only for British investors, as the pound headed for the biggest drop in a year.
Bullion priced in sterling rose as much as 2.2 percent to 1,007.52 pounds an ounce, a seven-week high, after Prime Minister Theresa May failed to win an overall majority. In dollar terms, the precious metal fell, poised for the first weekly loss in more than a month, as market attention for the rest of the world refocuses on the prospect of U.S. interest rates rising next week.
The impact on the metal used as a hedge against political and economic uncertainties has been muted outside of the U.K., even as May battles to survive amid calls for her resignation after a disastrous election that cost her party to lose its parliamentary majority just days before Brexit negotiations with the European Union begin. The dollar rallied, while U.S. equities gained and Treasury yields rose, hurting gold’s appeal as an alternative investment.
“It seems like long liquidation on gold and it looks vulnerable to more setbacks,” Phil Streible, a senior market strategist at RJO Futures in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “Gold has been such a great trade and there was so much optimism, but it just failed to breach through $1,300. People are now looking at interest rates, with bond yields rising.”
Gold futures August delivery declined 0.8 percent to $1,269.50 an ounce at 10:30 a.m. on the Comex in New York, after slipping as much as 1 percent earlier.
Traders are pricing in a 95 percent chance that the Federal Reserve may raise interest rates at its meeting next week, according to Fed fund futures data compiled by Bloomberg.
Some investors took advantage of higher prices for sterling-priced gold to sell positions, according to BullionVault, a London-based online trading platform.
“Traders were not as active as they were during the early hours of the Brexit referendum result,” Adrian Ash, head of research at BullionVault, said in an email. Volumes were four times higher than normal from 10 p.m. London, when the exit polls were released, to 9 a.m., he said.
“The political situation is anything but strong and stable,” said Jonathan Butler, a precious metals strategist at Mitsubishi Corp. in London. “There is quite a bit of potential for support for gold, certainly in sterling and possibly also in dollars, in the near term.”