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Wednesday, 22. May 2024

Gold steadies ahead of US labor data and rate cut expectations


Gold prices remained relatively stable in Asian trade on Thursday, as traders awaited further indications regarding the U.S. labor market’s status and information on the Federal Reserve’s timeline for initiating interest rate cuts.

The gold market has stabilized within a range of $2,020 to $2,050 per ounce after a brief surge that saw record highs surpassing $2,100 earlier this week.

Gold experienced a surge due to various factors, including perceived dovish signals from Fed Chair Jerome Powell, elevating expectations of potential rate cuts by March 2024.

Market sentiment shifted during the week, as signs of resilience in the U.S. economy tempered expectations of potential rate cuts.

Gold prices were supported by increased safe-haven demand after an attack on U.S. vessels, but eased as tensions in the Middle East de-escalated.

Spot gold steadied at $2,026.30 an ounce, while gold futures expiring in February dipped 0.2% to $2,043.05 an ounce by 00:24 ET (05:24 GMT).

Nonfarm payrolls in focus as markets speculate over Fed cuts

Markets are eagerly awaiting November’s nonfarm payrolls for potential insights into the labor market and implications for potential Fed cuts.

Job openings and recent payrolls data indicated a slight cooling in the U.S. labor market, raising anticipation for more clarity from the upcoming nonfarm payrolls report.

The upcoming nonfarm payrolls report is coming at a time of increased uncertainty regarding the Fed’s timing for potential interest rate cuts. While the central bank is expected to maintain rates in the upcoming week, there is uncertainty about when it might initiate a shift in its policy.

Traders anticipate a potential shift in the Fed’s stance, despite recent indications from Powell emphasizing a higher-for-longer approach. Their bets are based on expectations of a further decline in inflation and labor market conditions, which could prompt the Fed to reconsider its position in the coming months.

Gold’s resilience around the $2,000 mark since late November suggests it may see further strength, especially if there are indications of a less hawkish Fed and a slowdown in the labor market.

Copper prices rebounded on positive import data from China

Copper prices surged on Thursday, bouncing back from recent losses, fueled by positive Chinese import data showing a two-year high in copper imports.

Copper futures for March gained 0.7% to reach $3.7568 per pound

China’s copper imports surged 10.1% to 550,566 metric tons in November, marking the highest level since December 2021. This data suggests robust demand for copper in China despite a slowdown in other economic indicators.

In November, China experienced an unexpected contraction in overall imports, contrasting with a growth in exports for the first time in six months.


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