Gold treads water as Fed fears persist, more data awaited

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© Reuters — Gold prices moved little on Monday as markets digested hawkish yet reiterative comments from the Federal Reserve, with a slew of major economic readings on tap this week. 

Fed Chair Jerome Powell had warned on Friday that U.S. interest rates could still rise further to curb sticky inflation – a scenario that bodes poorly for gold.

But losses in the yellow metal were somewhat limited, given that prices had tumbled to five-month lows earlier in August.

Gold has marked a steady recovery from recent lows, although further strength in the yellow metal remains in question due to a hawkish outlook for U.S. rates. Strength in the , which was trading close to three-month highs, also weighed on metal markets.

was flat at $1,915.11 an ounce, while expiring in December rose 0.1% to $1,942.50 an ounce by 00:33 ET (04:33 GMT). 

Powell also reiterated on Friday that the Fed was likely to keep U.S. interest rates higher for longer, with recent resilience in the economy giving the central bank more headroom to do so. 

U.S. economic data on tap this week 

Markets are now awaiting a slew of economic readings from the world’s largest economy this week, including data, , and .

An earlier reading on GPD showed that the U.S. economy grew far more than expected in the second quarter, indicating that activity had not cooled as much as the Fed was initially expecting.

A reading on the Fed’s preferred inflation metric, personal consumption expenditures, is also due this week, and is expected to show that inflation remained sticky through July.

Nonfarm payrolls data for August is also due this week, and is set to show continued resilience in the U.S. labor market.

Strength in the economy, coupled with sticky inflation and a robust jobs market, gives the Fed more headroom to keep raising interest rates, or even hold them higher for longer. Such a scenario bodes poorly for gold, given that higher rates push up the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding assets.

Copper buoyed by China optimism, PMIs awaited 

Among industrial metals, copper prices rose on Monday as more stimulus measures from China helped improve sentiment. 

rose 0.4% to $3.8042 a pound.

China had over the weekend unveiled more measures aimed at supporting its stock and property markets, which helped brew some optimism over an eventual economic recovery in the country.

Focus is now on a string of (PMI) readings from the world’s largest copper importer, due on Thursday and Friday. Chinese manufacturing activity is expected to have contracted for a third straight month in August. 




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