Gold steady, focus on Jackson Hole summit for rate-cut direction

LONDON: Gold prices were unchanged on Thursday, lingering above the key $1,500 level, as investors awaited the Federal Reserve chair’s speech at a global central bankers’ conclave for clues on future U.S. interest rate cuts.
Spot gold was flat at $1,502 per ounce as of 0612 GMT.
U.S. gold futures were down 0.3% at $1,510.90 an ounce.
“We are seeing a holding pattern until the remarks from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell at the Jackson Hole symposium,” OANDA analyst Jeffrey Halley said.
If Powell says they are going to cut rates aggressively, that may not be great for gold in the short-term since equities will gain, Halley added.
Markets are now focused on Powell’s speech at Jackson Hole on Friday, for clarity on the direction of U.S. monetary policy, especially after an inversion in the Treasury yield curve highlighted the risk that the U.S. economy may fall into recession.
Minutes of the Fed’s July meeting, released on Wednesday, showed policymakers were divided over whether to cut interest rates, but were united in wanting to signal they were not on a preset path to more easing.
However, futures are still fully priced for a quarter-point cut in rates next month, and over 100 basis points of easing by the end of next year.
“Indeed, Fed Funds futures still imply 50-75 bps in further easing before year-end,” said Ilya Spivak, senior currency strategist with DailyFx.
“Investors’ defiant stance probably reflects lingering hope that the dated Minutes document will be superseded by promises of lavish accommodation to be unveiled at the US central bank’s symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.”
Traders are also looking at the Group of Seven summit this weekend for clues on what additional steps policymakers may take to boost economic growth.
Meanwhile, hopes for U.S. fiscal stimulus got a knock when President Donald Trump reversed course and said he was not looking at cutting payroll taxes.
A range of manufacturing surveys from across the globe are due later on Thursday and risks are they will show a further slowdown in activity, especially in Europe.
Minutes from the European Central Bank’s last policy meeting are also awaited, and markets are looking for more details on exactly when and how aggressively it might ease policy.
Spot gold may rise to $1,524 per ounce as it has found a support at $1,497, according to Reuters analyst Wang Tao.
SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings rose 0.80% to 851.91 tonnes on Wednesday.
The holdings have increased about 3%, or around 24 tonnes, so far this month.
Elsewhere, silver fell 0.2% to $17.07 per ounce, while platinum was down 0.5% to $848.60.
Palladium fell 0.9% to $1,458.52 per ounce.

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