Gold Sinks, Oil Tumbles 2% on Higher U.S. Stockpiles

Gold prices continued to decline on Thursday, falling to a seven-day low amid speculation that the U.S. Federal Reserve will raise rates this month.

Gold futures on the Comex were down $9.65 to $1,240.25 per troy ounce. The yellow metal lost $4 the previous session.

Spot gold reached a low of $1,235.90 before settling at $1,240.20, down $9.50.

Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard said in a statement on Wednesday that improving U.S. and global economies create an ideal environment for raising interest rates.

Brainard’s remarks echo other officials, who signaled this week that rates may increase as early as March.

Investors will be keeping a close eye on Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s speech on Friday in Chicago, where she may give clues as to the timing of the next rate hike. Fed Vice Chair Stanley Fischer is slated to speak on Friday.

Meanwhile, oil fell 2% to a multi-week low amid concerns that growing U.S. crude stockpiles are offsetting efforts by OPEC and its allies to curb production.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude for April fell to a low of $52.66 per barrel. Brent crude for May delivery tumbled 96 cents to $55.39 per barrel.

U.S. Stockpiles

 

The dip in oil prices comes after the U.S. Energy Information Administration announced on Wednesday that crude supplies were up by 1.5 million barrels to an all-time high of 520.2 million.

U.S. stockpiles have been growing steadily over the last eight weeks, sparking concerns of an extended global oversupply.

OPEC and non-OPEC countries agreed to cut output in an effort to curb the global supply glut. Thus far, those involved in the agreement have made a strong start to reducing output by nearly 1.8 million barrels per day. Compliance is currently at 94%.

Elsewhere, gasoline futures for April declined 3.2 cents ot $1.635 per gallon. Heating oil for March declined 3.1 cents to $1.592 per gallon.