Gold futures were edging lower on Tuesday with the U.S. dollar remaining firm and as the market awaited testimony from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin later in the session.
The economic uncertainty created by the coronavirus pandemic has been one key factor underpinning bullion’s rally in recent weeks.
Powell and Mnuchin will offer a House Financial Services Committee guidance on the risks to lifting restrictions on commercial activity against keeping the pandemic in check. The pair will speak at 12:30 p.m. Eastern Time.
Rising numbers of new cases of COVID-19 in Florida, Texas, California and Arizona have raised concerns about the potential shape of the economic recovery from recession in the U.S. and the rest of the world.
August gold fell $2.70, or 0.1%, at $1,778.70 an ounce, after rising less than 0.1% on Monday. Early last week, gold touched its highest level since 2012 as infections of COVID-19 accelerated. In the first half of the year, prices based on the most-active contracts traded about 17% higher, over the quarter the commodity has gained 8.3%, and 1.6% in June thus far, according to data from FactSet.
Meanwhile, September silver which is the most-active contract, added 5 cents, or 0.3%, at $18.110 an ounce, after declining 0.5% on Monday. For the first six months of the year, the white metal has climbed 1.1%, but has surged 28.2% over the quarter but has lost 2.1% in June so far.
On the day, the U.S. dollar was little changed as gauged by the ICE U.S. Dollar Index, a measure of the buck against a half-dozen other currencies. A stronger dollar can weigh on precious metals priced in the currency, deflating the appeal of dollar-pegged commodities.
Rounding out action on Comex on the day, the most-active September copper contract added 1.2% to $2.723 a pound. October platinum was virtually unchanged at $828.20 an ounce and September palladium shed 0.6% to $1,921.50 an ounce.