Newcrest Mining Limited (ASX: NCM) and its fellow gold producing peers Northern Star Resources Ltd (ASX: NST) and St Barbara Ltd (ASX: SBM) look set to have a strong day ahead of them following a jump in the gold price to its highest level in the last three weeks.

The spot gold price is currently fetching US$1,348 an ounce, up by around 3.5% since this time last week.

The gold price has been lifted by both a weaker US dollar and reduced expectations of the Federal Reserve raising interest rates at its next meeting in just over two weeks.

According to CME Group there is now just an 18% chance of a rate rise later this month. In fact, according to the data gleaned from its 30-Day Fed Fund futures prices, there is currently only a 22% chance of a rate hike at its November meeting.

If CME Group’s probability models are to be believed, December appears to be the most likely time for a rate rise this year with a 42.9% chance.

If this proves to be the case then I would not be at all surprised to see the gold price edge higher over the next few months. This would clearly be fantastic news for the likes of Newcrest and St Barbara. The longer the gold price remains at its elevated levels, the more profitable their operations are likely to be.

Whilst it is hard to argue against an investment in high-quality miners such as Newcrest considering all of this, I would be hesitant to rule out a rate increase in September or November completely.

After all, nobody quite knows for sure what the Federal Reserve is thinking. In my view a rate hike would almost certainly put an end to gold’s bull run and could put pressure on some of the many Australian gold producers trading at high earnings multiples.

As always, instead of risking hard-earned money in the gold producers, I would suggest investors focus on more predictable areas of the market.

I believe these three fantastic shares would be great alternatives to Newcrest and other gold producers.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.