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Gold prices steady but head for steep weekly losses as rate cut hopes wane

Published 24-05-2024, 10:36 am
© Reuters

Investing.com-- Gold prices steadied in Asian trade on Friday, but were nursing steep declines through the week as concerns over high for longer U.S. interest rates dragged the yellow metal from record highs.

Rate fears pushed up the dollar and also weighed on broader metal prices. Among industrial metals, copper prices were also nursing a steep decline from record highs this week.

Gold was also hit by waning safe haven demand, as the death of the Iranian President did not ramp up tensions in the Middle East as initially expected.

Spot gold rose 0.2% to $2,332.77 an ounce, while gold futures expiring in June fell 0.1% to $2,333.85 an ounce by 00:37 ET (04:37 GMT). 

Gold nurses steep weekly losses on rate jitters 

Gold was set to lose about 3.4% this week, as it plummeted from record highs hit at the beginning of the week. 

Safe haven demand for gold waned this week, which left the yellow metal vulnerable to headwinds from concerns over high for longer interest rates.

Hawkish signals from the Federal Reserve showed policymakers growing increasingly concerned over sticky inflation, with some even open to raise rates further. 

While more rate hikes appeared unlikely, the hawkish speak saw traders sharply scale back expectations for any rate cuts in 2024. Traders were seen pricing in a nearly equal probability of a rate cut or hold in September, according to the CME Fedwatch tool

High for longer rates bode poorly for gold, given that they increase the opportunity cost of investing in the yellow metal. 

Other precious metals steadied on Friday, and were set for weekly losses. Platinum futures rose 0.4% to $1,029.90 an ounce, while silver futures rose 0.4% to $30.582 an ounce. 

Copper steadies after tumbling from record highs 

Benchmark copper futures on the London Metal Exchange rose 0.8% to $10,450.50 a ton, while one-month U.S. copper futures rose 0.7% to $4.8102 a pound.

Both contracts slid from record highs this week as a speculative frenzy that had driven earlier gains appeared to be winding down. Traders were now waiting to see whether physical deliveries on contracts could be made in time, which would offer more cues on copper supply conditions.

Cooling sentiment towards top copper importer China also weighed, as optimism over more stimulus measures was largely offset by a simmering trade war with the U.S. and tensions with Taiwan.

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