Gold was up by close to 40% for the year when it hit a record high in August, but it has since nearly halved that gain, and some analysts say a move to fresh all-time highs in the final quarter may be out of reach for the precious metal.
“Gold has enjoyed a meteoric rise this year, hitting a record in early August on the back of a weak dollar and continued [Federal Reserve] support,” says Matt Orton, vice president at Carillon Tower Advisers. The Fed actions drove real rates lower, “making cash and Treasuries much less attractive, and gold a better alternative.”
Futures prices for the precious metal settled at a record $2,069.40 an ounce on Aug. 6. On Oct. 7, it settled at $1,890.80, up 24% year to date.
“Negative U.S. real rates have stabilized and started to move higher in August,” with gold moving lower as a result, Orton says. The impact of real rates and the dollar are key drivers of gold prices, not equity investor sentiment, and “with economic data continuing to show signs of a recovery, I would expect this rise in real rates to continue, as well as a general strengthening of the dollar—an additional headwind for gold.” Prices for the metal aren’t likely to reach new record highs in the near future, he says.
The Fed pledged in September to hold its benchmark interest rate between zero and 0.25% until labor-market conditions reached a certain level and inflation was on track to moderately exceed its 2% target rate “for some time.” The fed-funds rate is below zero in real terms, which takes inflation into account.
Real rates, however, stopped plunging after