By Ambar Warrick
biedexmarkets.com — Gold prices rose slightly on Friday, but were set for a fourth consecutive week in red amid growing uncertainty over U.S. monetary policy, with markets seeking more cues from a reading on the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge later in the day.
The yellow metal saw some relief as was revised slightly lower, indicating that the economy had cooled more than expected under the yoke of high interest rates. The reading pushed up some hopes that the Fed will have less economic headroom to keep raising rates.
rose 0.1% to $1,823.84 an ounce, while rose 0.2% to $1,831.15 an ounce by 19:36 ET (00:36 GMT). Both instruments were set to lose between 0.5% and 0.8% this week.
A reading on the – the Fed’s preferred inflation gauge – is expected to reiterate that price pressures remained elevated in January. Curbing inflation is the central bank’s main priority, with giving little indication that it plans to pause its rate hiking spree. This bodes poorly for gold, given that rising yields push up the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding assets such as metals.
A slew of Fed speakers pushed the case for more hikes this week, with some even calling for a faster pace of hikes in the coming months. The minutes of the Fed’s February meeting also showed that most officials were in support of rates going higher.
But markets remain uncertain over where interest rates will peak. This has limited the upside for metal prices, with traders fearing a higher-than-expected terminal rate.
Other precious metals were muted on Friday, with and futures moving less than 0.1% in either direction. But platinum was set to outpace its peers this week with a nearly 3% jump, as it snapped a six-week losing spree.
Among industrial metals, copper prices steadied on Friday after plummeting in the prior session as the weak U.S. GDP data raised concerns over slowing industrial activity.
rose 0.1% to $4.0570 a pound, after slumping 3.3% in the prior session. The losses also put copper on course for a weekly loss of 1.3%.
Uncertainty over an economic recovery in China, the world’s largest copper importer, has also weighed on copper in recent weeks.