Expectations that the Federal Reserve could withdraw economic support kept the dollar index near a one-year high. The index - which tracks the dollar against six peers - edged higher to 94.4. Spiking US bond yields added to the currency’s firmness.
Domestic gold and silver prices were little changed with a positive bias on Thursday tracking a similar trend in global benchmarks. Though weakness in equities increased the safe-haven appeal of precious metals, a strengthening dollar kept bullion less attractive for holders of other currencies. Globally, the yellow metal was on track for a second quarterly drop in three quarters.
At 12:39 pm, the December gold futures contract on MCX was at Rs 45,795 per 10 grams, up 0.1 percent or Rs 26 compared with its previous close of Rs 45,769.
Silver December futures were barely up at Rs 58,402 per kilogram, as against their previous close of Rs 58,386 per kilogram.
Globally, gold and silver prices rose only mildly as the prospect of the US central bank tapering its COVID-19-era stimulus led to appreciation in the dollar, making bullion more expensive for those holding other currencies.
Spot gold was last seen trading up 0.1 percent at $1,728.3 per ounce, while silver was up 0.2 percent at $21.6 per ounce. US gold futures were up 0.3 percent at $1,728 an ounce.
The rupee depreciated by 22 paise to 74.36 against the dollar on Thursday amid a muted trend in domestic equities. Equity benchmarks Sensex and Nifty50 moved in a narrow range around the flatline amid choppy trade.
Gold is often considered a hedge against higher inflation, but a Fed rate hike would increase the opportunity cost of holding gold, which pays no interest.
Manoj Kumar Jain, Director-Head of Commodity Research at Prithvi Finmart, expects spot gold to hold the $1,700 per ounce level in the near term.
On MCX, he sees support for gold futures at Rs 45,550-45,400 levels, and resistance at Rs 45,920-46,100. In silver, he sees support at Rs 58,000-57,500 and resistance at Rs 58,800-59,400.
Jain recommends buying silver around Rs 58,100 per kg for a target of Rs 59,000 with a stop loss at Rs 57,700.