Gold prices steady with $2,200 in sight; CPI awaited for more rate cues

  • Commodities News
Gold prices steady with $2,200 in sight; CPI awaited for more rate cues
Credit: © Reuters. Gold prices steadied just below record highs in Asian trade on Monday, with focus turning largely to upcoming U.S. inflation data for more cues on when the Federal Reserve will begin cutting interest rates. 

Expectations of rate cuts saw bullion prices rise sharply to record highs last week, especially as Fed Chair Jerome Powell said that inflation was close to reaching levels the Fed was comfortable with. 

Middling labor market data, which indicated some cooling in U.S. employment, also aided bullion prices, as did weakness in the dollar and Treasury yields.

Spot gold rose 0.1% to $2,180.47 an ounce, while gold futures expiring in April rose 0.1% to $2,187.00 an ounce by 00:50 ET (04:50 GMT). Both instruments were trading just below record highs hit on Friday. 

Gold futures hit a lifetime high of $2,203.0 an ounce, while spot gold hit a lifetime high of $2,195.20 an ounce last week.

CPI data in focus after mixed Fed signals, labor data 

Focus was now squarely on U.S. consumer price index data due on Tuesday, for more cues on interest rates. 

The reading is expected to show some cooling inflation through February, although inflation is still expected to remain well above the Fed’s 2% annual target.

U.S. inflation will be closely watched this week, especially after Powell and a string of Fed officials signaled that anxiety over sticky inflation was the central bank’s biggest consideration in lower interest rates. 

The prospect of lower rates was the biggest boost to gold prices over the past two weeks, especially as labor data on Friday also showed some cooling in employment.

While nonfarm payrolls rose more than expected in February, unemployment also rose, while payroll readings for January were revised substantially lower.

Other precious metals were muted on Monday, but were also sitting on strong gains from last week. Platinum futures rose 0.2% to $919.40 an ounce, while silver futures fell 0.1% to $24.517 an ounce.

Copper prices rangebound amid mixed China data

Among industrial metals, copper futures expiring in May steadied at $3.8957 a pound on Monday, tracking middling economic signals from top importer China.

Data released last week showed China’s copper imports rose during the first two months of the year. But their pace of growth remained languid, especially as factory activity in the country remained on the backfoot.

This notion was furthered by inflation data released over the weekend. While consumer inflation grew slightly more than expected, producer inflation pushed further into deflationary territory, indicating that factory activity, a key driver of Chinese copper demand, remained depressed.

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