Dec 18, 2023

Gold prices rose slightly in Asian trade on Friday, extending a push above key levels after dovish signals from the Federal Reserve sparked steep losses in the dollar and Treasury yields.

The yellow metal rebounded from recent losses this week after the Fed said it was done raising interest rates and would consider deeper interest rate cuts in 2024. The Fed’s comments saw market pricing in at least three rate cuts by the central bank, with the first coming as soon as March 2024.

The dollar slid to four-month lows after the Fed, while Treasury yields fell across the board, with the 10-year rate breaking below 4%.

xauusd daily chart

Gold benefited from this trade, as the prospect of lower rates pushed up the yellow metal’s appeal. Lower interest rates also reduce the opportunity cost of investing in gold, which offers no yields and is primarily driven by sentiment and haven demand.

Spot gold steadied at $2,036.83 an ounce, while gold futures expiring February rose 0.3% to $2,050.95 an ounce by 00:25 ET (05:25 GMT). Both instruments were up between 1.6% and 2% this week.

But gold prices were still trading well below record highs of over $2,100 hit earlier this month.

Fed seen cutting rates in early 2024

Markets were now speculating over when the central bank began cutting interest rates. Fed Fund futures prices point to an over 70% chance the bank will cut rates by 25 basis points in March 2024.

Goldman Sachs expects the bank to cut rates by 25 basis points thrice in three back-to-back meetings beginning in March 2024.

The rate cuts also come amid growing optimism over a soft landing for the US economy. However, any signs of economic resilience- particularly in inflation and the labour market- could delay the Fed’s rate cuts.

Although gold benefiting from lower interest rates improves risk appetite, it could also draw capital away from the yellow metal into high-yielding risky assets.

Copper advances on upbeat Chinese data, stimulus

Among industrial metals, copper prices firmed on Friday, taking support from a weaker dollar and some positive cues from top importer China.

Copper futures expiring in March rose 0.3% to $3.8857 a pound and were set for mild gains this week.

Chinese data showed that industrial production grew more than expected in November, indicating that some aspects of the economy were recovering. However, readings on retail sales and fixed asset investment missed expectations.

However, the People’s Bank also boosted sentiment towards China by injecting about 1.45 trillion yuan ($200 billion) into the economy through its medium-term lending facility on Friday.

The injection also indicated that the PBOC will keep its loan prime rate at record lows next week to facilitate an economic recovery.

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