Gold prices retake $2,000 after weak retail sales, weekly losses still on tap

  • Commodities News
Gold prices retake $2,000 after weak retail sales, weekly losses still on tap
Credit: © Reuters. Gold prices moved little in Asian trade on Friday after retaking a key level as weak U.S. retail sales data spurred some doubts over when the Federal Reserve will begin cutting interest rates.

Bullion prices rose back above the $2,000 an ounce level on Thursday after breaking well below the level earlier in the week. Some safe haven demand- following data showing recessions in Japan and the UK- also aided gold prices. 

But despite seeing some relief, the yellow metal was still set for steep weekly losses as traders largely scaled back expectations for early rate cuts, especially following hotter-than-expected consumer price index inflation data earlier this week.

Spot gold steadied at $2,003.86 an ounce, while gold futures expiring in April steadied at $2,015.55 an ounce by 00:14 ET (05:14 GMT). Both instruments were set to lose 1.1% this week- their worst week since early-December. 

Fed’s Bostic warns against early rate cut bets 

Even after Thursday’s retail sales reading, Fed officials still warned against betting on early rate cuts. Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic said that while the central bank had made headway towards lowering inflation, he was still not ready to call for rate cuts yet.

Bostic also said that inflation will take longer to decline. His comments came just ahead of producer price index inflation data, which is due later on Friday.

San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly is also set to speak later in the day. 

Fed officials have repeatedly warned that the central bank is in no hurry to raise interest rates, given that the U.S. economy, inflation and the labor market are all still running strong.

Such a scenario bodes poorly for gold prices, given that higher rates push up the opportunity cost of investing in the yellow metal. 

Other precious metals moved in varying directions on Friday, but were set for a much stronger weekly performance than gold, indicating that traders were potentially diversifying out of the yellow metal. 

Silver futures expiring in March rose 0.3% and were set for a 1.9% weekly gain, while platinum futures expiring in April fell 0.4%, but were set to add 2.7% this week. 

Copper prices see relief from dollar losses, set for weekly gains 

Among industrial metals, copper prices advanced on Friday, extending gains from the prior session as a drop in the dollar aided prices of the red metal.

Copper futures expiring in April rose 0.4% to $3.7728 a pound, and were set to rise 2.5% this week.

But the red metal still remained under pressure from concerns that worsening global economic conditions will dent demand.

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