Gold prices ticked higher on Tuesday, as the latest round of US data pointed to less optimism on the economic outlook, keeping alive the notion of interest rate cuts in the coming months.
Prices moved as high as $2,039 an ounce on Tuesday, compared with a low of $2,015 an ounce on Monday. The rebound followed two straight days of losses for the yellow metal.
The gains appeared to be linked to the latest round of US data released Tuesday, which showed a dimmer view on the economic outlook.
The RealClearMarkets/TIPP Economic Optimism Index in the US fell to 44 in February, compared with 44.7 in January and well below forecasts of 47.2. Within the latest survey, the Personal Financial Outlook – which measures how Americans feel about their own finances in the next six months – fell to 53.4 from 55, while confidence in Federal Economic Policies declined to 39 from 39.8.
The latest figures may be seen as creating pressure on the US Fed to cut interest rates to stimulate growth – a move that would ultimately support gold prices. This scenario works against recent expectations that the central bank could leave rates unchanged at upcoming meetings in the first half of the year.
Gold prices are well within the trading range seen over the past four weeks of around $2,000 to $2,060 an ounce, and towards the top end of the range over the last six months. The yellow metal traded as low as $1,820 an ounce as recently as October 2023.
Looking ahead, several US Fed officials are set to give speeches on Wednesday, which could help clarify the picture on the central bank’s thinking on monetary policy in the coming weeks and months. Then on Thursday, the markets will be looking out for the weekly US Initial Jobless Claims figures for further clues.
Frank’s experience covering the commodities markets spans 22 years, with a particular specialism in metals, carbon and energy markets. He has worked as a senior editor for S&P Global Commodity Insights (formerly Platts) and before this, at ICIS-LOR, a part of Reed Business Information (Reed Elsevier), where he covered the petrochemicals markets from 2003 to 2005.
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