Gold Plunges

Gold Heads for Biggest Drop in Three Weeks as Fed Ends QE

Gold prices fell as the Federal Reserve ended its bond-purchase program, cutting demand for the metal as hedge against inflation.

The Fed maintained its pledge to keep interest rates near zero percent for a “considerable time,” while citing improvements for the American labor market as it ended its asset buying at the conclusion of its two-day policy meeting today.

“People will not see the need for gold in an environment of low inflation and solid job growth,” Chris Gaffney, the senior market strategist at EverBank Wealth Management in St. Louis, said in a telephone interview. “While it was expected, the ending of the asset-purchase program added to the negative sentiment.”

Bullion fell to this year’s low on Oct. 6 amid waning demand for a store of value. Holdings in global exchange-traded products backed by gold are at the lowest in five years, and measures of volatility for the metal have pared recent gains. The U.S. economy isn’t in danger of a major pullback even as Europe languishes and China’s growth slows, Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew said today.

Gold for immediate delivery dropped 1 percent to $1,215.69 an ounce at 2:16 p.m. New York time, heading for the biggest drop since Oct. 3. Prices touched $1,215.47, the lowest since Oct. 8.

Bullion climbed 70 percent from December 2008 to June 2011 as the U.S. central bank bought debt and held borrowing costs near zero percent in a bid to shore up growth. Prices slumped 28 percent last year partly because the gains for consumer prices investors were concerned about after the increase in money supply failed to materialize.

Low Inflation

Fed policy makers said that while inflation in the near term will probably be held down by lower energy prices, it repeated language from its September statement that “the likelihood of inflation running persistently below 2 percent has diminished somewhat.”

Inflation expectations, measured by the five-year Treasury break-even rate, this month reached the lowest since October 2011.

Gold prices will drop to $1,050 over the next 12 months as the U.S. economy accelerates,Jack A. Bass, author of The Gold Investors Handbook has said.

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