Gold set for worst month in four years as dollar strengthensGold set for worst month in four years as dollar strengthens
FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: Gold bars at the Austrian Gold and Silver Separating Plant in Vienna

By Nakul Iyer

(Reuters) – Gold fell on Wednesday and was on track for its biggest monthly decline in nearly four years, as the dollar benefited from caution that crept into financial markets after the first U.S. presidential debate.

Spot gold fell 0.7% to $1,883.62 per ounce by 0944 GMT, declining 4.3% so far in September, setting it up for its worst monthly performance since November 2016.

U.S. gold futures were down 0.8% at $1,888.10 per ounce.

“I think from gold’s perspective, it (the election debate) was a non-event and all we saw gold doing was honouring its inverse relationship with the U.S. dollar,” said independent analyst Ross Norman.

He said gold still had momentum but had probably made most of its gains.

“Gold is in a consolidation pattern, but within a bull trend,” he said.

For the quarter, bullion is on track for its eighth straight gain.

A chaotic first U.S. presidential debate turned investors cautious and drove them to seek refuge in the dollar, reducing gold’s appeal for other currency holders. The dollar index was set for its best month since July 2019.

Gold also failed to take advantage of retreating U.S. stock futures after Trump cast doubt on whether he would accept the election’s outcome.

“If you do get a situation where Trump refuses to acknowledge the result of the election because he lost, then I think that would be very beneficial for gold,” said Natixis analyst Bernard Dahdah.

Such an event would raise questions over the U.S. political and economic system and therefore benefit gold, he added.

Investors also tracked progress on a new U.S. coronavirus relief bill.

Silver fell 2.1% to $23.66 per ounce and platinum slipped 2% to $866.97. Silver was on track for its first monthly contraction since March, falling more than 16%, and Platinum was set to post its biggest fall since March, declining 6.6%

Palladium fell 0.3% to $2,301.61 per ounce but was up 2.7% for the month.

(Reporting by Nakul Iyer in Bengaluru; editing by Barbara Lewis)