Gold creeps lower as hawkish Fed speakers brew renewed caution

  • Commodities News
Gold creeps lower as hawkish Fed speakers brew renewed caution -- Gold prices fell slightly in early Asian trade on Tuesday as a slew of Federal Reserve officials warned that interest rates could still rise further amid relatively high inflation and a robust labor market.

While the yellow metal saw some gains in the prior session, they were limited as traders hunkered down before a string of U.S. economic readings this week, starting with retail sales and industrial production due later in the day.

More Fed officials are also set to speak later this week, most notably Chair Jerome Powell on Friday.

Still, gold retained its $2,000 support, with safe haven demand for the yellow metal remaining underpinned by fears of a U.S. economic slowdown this year. Safe haven demand was the main driver of a gold rally through May, which saw spot prices briefly touch record highs.

Spot gold fell 0.1% to $2,014.82 an ounce, while gold futures fell 0.2% to $2,019.35 an ounce by 20:25 ET (00:25 GMT).

Four regional Fed presidents said in separate addresses that while the bank had marked some progress against high inflation over the past year, it still needed to do more work in order to meet its 2% annual inflation target.

While the Fed had flagged a potential pause in its rate hike cycle earlier this month, Fed officials expressed uncertainty over whether the bank would pause in June.

"We should not be fooled by a few months of positive data," Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari said during an address at the Minnesota Transportation Conference & EXPO. "We still are well in excess of our 2% inflation target, and we need to finish the job."

Fed officials also downplayed any potential for rate cuts by the Fed this year.

Fed Fund futures prices show that markets are pricing in a 79.9% probability that the Fed will pause its rate hikes in June.

The prospect of higher U.S. interest rates bodes poorly for non-yielding assets such as gold, given that it increases the opportunity cost of holding bullion. But on the other hand, fears of a U.S. recession and a potential banking collapse are expected to underpin safe haven demand for the yellow metal.

Other precious metals moved little on Tuesday, with platinum futures trading sideways, while silver fell 0.2%.

Among industrial metals, copper prices were nursing steep losses over the past week as fears of worsening economic conditions pointed to a bleak demand outlook for the red metal.

Copper futures fell 0.1% to $3.7422 a pound, after tumbling nearly 4% last week.

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