Gold prices slide as dollar surges on easing rate cut expectations

  • Commodities News
Gold prices slide as dollar surges on easing rate cut expectations
Credit: © Reuters. Gold prices fell in Asian trade on Monday, extending losses from the prior week as a mix of strong labor market data and hawkish Federal Reserve signals saw markets dial back expectations for early interest rate cuts. 

The yellow metal fell sharply from highs above $2,050 an ounce, as the prospect of higher-for-longer interest rates heralded more near-term pressure. The dollar shot up to a near two-month high on Monday, while Treasury yields also advanced in Asian trade.

In contrast, spot gold fell 0.4% to $2,031.60 an ounce, while gold futures expiring in April fell 0.3% to $2,047.75 an ounce by 00:27 ET (05:27 GMT). 

Gold loses ground after nonfarm payrolls, Powell comments 

Losses in gold were initially triggered by a substantially stronger-than-expected nonfarm payrolls reading for January, which showed continued resilience in the world’s largest economy- which gives the Fed more headroom to keep rates higher for longer.

Then, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said in a late-Sunday interview that the bank will remain prudent in considering any monetary loosening this year, and that resilience in the U.S. economy gives it more room to keep rates higher for longer. 

His comments largely reiterated the Fed’s stance that it was in no hurry to begin loosening policy, and saw traders further scale back bets on early interest rate cuts.

The CME Fedwatch tool showed traders having now almost entirely negated bets on a March rate cut, and were sharply paring bets on a May rate cut. Several analysts also said that they only expect the bank to begin trimming rates by June. 

The prospect of higher-for-longer interest rates bodes poorly for gold, given that higher rates push up the opportunity cost of buying bullion. 

Still, the yellow metal has seen some support in recent sessions from increased safe haven demand, especially amid a worsening conflict in the Middle East. 

Gold has so far largely retained the $2,000 an ounce level, and spot prices are still within sight of record highs hit in late-2023. 

Copper buoyed by Chilean supply concerns 

Among industrial metals, copper prices rose slightly on Monday, amid concerns over potential supply disruptions in Chile, stemming from deadly wildfires in the South American country. 

Copper futures expiring in March rose 0.3% to $3.8293 a pound.

Chile is the world’s largest producer of copper, with any potential disruptions in supply from the country serving to potentially tighten global copper markets. But the worst of the forest fires appeared to situated well away from the country's biggest copper mines, raising questions over just how much supply disruption would come from the fires.

Any further gains in copper were also held back by persistent concerns over slowing demand in top importer China, as the country struggles with a sluggish post-COVID economic recovery. 

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