Precious metals, miners mauled amid talk of more aggressive Fed rate hikes

Gold prices falling in a bearish market. Red arrow going down over gold bullion bars. Concept digital 3D render.

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Shares of precious metals miners fell across the board Tuesday, with gold prices suffering their biggest drop in three weeks as the benchmark U.S. dollar index rose to its highest since March 2020 with growing talk of aggressive interest rate hikes from the Federal Reserve.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield hit 2.942% on Tuesday, the highest since December 2018.

On Monday, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard said a greater than 50 basis point rate increase was "not my base case" but noted the central bank had increased rates by more in the past, and he did not rule out a potential 75 basis point rise.

On Tuesday, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said the Fed likely will need to take interest rates above the "neutral" rate, considered to be in the 2.25%-2.5% range.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell will speak on Thursday and is expected to reiterate expectations for multiple 50-point rate hikes.

Comex gold for June delivery (XAUUSD:CUR) settled -1.4% at $1,959/oz, the lowest most-active contract price finish since April 11, while May silver (XAGUSD:CUR) closed -2.9% at $25.39/oz.

Top gold mining losers included (GFI) -11.5%, (AU) -7.1%, (HMY) -6%, (NGD) -4.2%, (GORO) -3.5%, (NEM) -2.9%, (SAND) -2.8%, (IAG) -2.6%, (AEM) -2.4%.

Among silver miners: (AG) -6.6%, (EXK) -5.2%, (SVM) -4.4%, (PAAS) -3.5%, (FSM) -3.1%.

ETFs: (NYSEARCA:GLD), (GDX), (IAU), (NUGT), (PHYS), (SLV), (SIL), (SIVR), (PSLV)

Gold futures briefly topped $2,000/oz on Monday, rising to their best levels since mid-March.

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