Gold prices move little ahead of U.S. GDP, inflation data

  • Commodities News
Gold prices move little ahead of U.S. GDP, inflation data
Credit: © Reuters. -- Gold prices kept to a small range on Thursday as traders hunkered down ahead of hotly watched data on U.S. economic growth and the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge, although high safe haven demand kept the yellow metal near key levels.

Bullion prices traded just below $2,000 an ounce after flitting with the level for the past week amid increased safe haven demand and speculation over U.S. monetary policy and interest rates.

Spot gold rose 0.1% to $1,990.01 an ounce, while gold futures rose 0.2% to $1,999.85 an ounce by 20:32 ET (00:32 GMT). Both instruments are up marginally for the week.

Focus is now chiefly on U.S. first quarter GDP data due later in the day, which is expected to show that growth cooled after a stronger-than-expected fourth quarter. High interest rates, elevated inflation, and slowing manufacturing activity are expected to have taken a toll on the economy over the past three months.

The Fed’s preferred inflation gauge - the personal consumption expenditures price index - is also due later in the day, and is expected to show that inflation remained sticky in March from the prior month.

The data comes ahead of a Fed meeting next week, where the central bank is widely expected to hike interest rates by 25 basis points . But uncertainty over where rates will go later in the year weighed on metal markets in recent sessions, especially as economic data painted a somewhat weak picture of the U.S. economy.

But despite signs of slowing growth, several Fed officials called for more rate hikes this year, especially as inflation remains well above the central bank’s target range. Such a scenario bodes poorly for gold and other metals, given that it pushes up the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding assets.

Gold benefited in recent sessions from safe haven demand, following a string of weak earnings on Wall Street, as well as resurgent fears of a banking crisis.

Other precious metals moved slightly higher on Thursday, with platinum futures up 0.1%, while silver added 0.5%.

Among industrial metals, copper prices remained pinned at a five-week low, as fears of slowing economic growth pointed to weaker demand for the red metal.

Copper futures rose 0.1% to $3.8572 a pound, after falling sharply for the past six sessions.

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