Gold falls to 1-week low as Fed ambiguity clouds rate-cut bets

WASHINGTON: Gold on Thursday fell to its lowest in a little over one week, after comments from U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell dashed hopes of a near-term rate cut, boosting the dollar and treasury yields.
Spot gold shed 0.3 percent to $1,272.01 per ounce as of 0610 GMT, having fallen to $1,270.76, its lowest since April 24, earlier in the session.
U.S. gold futures fell 0.9 percent to $1,273.20 an ounce.
The Fed held interest rates steady on Wednesday, but emphasized on the rhetoric that it does not see a readjustment of rates in the near term.
“We know that the Fed is going to be on pause for a while, but the market was pricing in a more dovish lean towards the end of 2019,” said Stephen Innes, head of trading and market strategy, SPI Asset Management.
Powell’s view on inflation revived an ailing dollar on Wednesday and also prompted U.S. Treasury yields higher.
A higher interest rate increases the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding gold and pushes up the dollar and yields, leading to an inverse impact on the price of gold.
“There is a little bit of ambiguity around (Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s) inflation language in particular. He sounded almost like Janet Yellen back in 2016 when he said that inflation risk could be transitory … So that really means the Fed is probably going to be stuck in neutral,” Innes added.
Meanwhile, Asian shares also adopted a wait-and-watch approach with major centres Japan and China shut for holidays.
“Robust U.S. economic releases have eased global growth concerns as equity markets rally above 2018 highs. Strong risk appetites remain a bane for the precious metal,” Benjamin Lu, analyst, Phillip Futures, said in a note.
Investors now closely monitor developments in the U.S.-China trade front with wide expectations that a deal to end a long-draw spat between the two countries could soon be realized, which may further boost risk appetite, thereby weighing on safe-haven gold.
Politico reported that the two countries are nearing a trade deal that would roll back a portion of the $250 billion in U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods.
Elsewhere, silver fell 0.2 percent to $14.64 an ounce, holding close to a more than four-month trough of $14.57 from Wednesday, while platinum prices fell 0.2 percent to $862.15, having touched $853, its lowest in nearly a month, earlier in the session.
Palladium slipped 0.8 percent to $1,344.15, having touched its lowest level since Jan. 25 at $1,309.67 in the previous session.

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