Gold aims for best week in six weeks despite the dollar slipped rebounding early Friday to two-and-a-half-month highs. Now all eyes turn to Jackson Hole.
The market was awaiting Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s speech Friday morning at 10 EDT during the Fed’s annual conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, for further direction. The University of Michigan consumer sentiment report for August is also scheduled for Friday.
Front-month gold futures slipped $1 Thursday to settle at $1,947.10 an ounce on Comex, though the December contract was up 1.6% in the first four days of the week. Bullion is down 3.1% in August after rising 4.1% in July and losing 2.7% in June. The metal gained 5.7% in the first half of the year after falling $2.40 in 2022. The December contract is currently down $1.50 (-0.08%) an ounce to $1945.60 and the DG spot price is $1918.30.
Powell’s remarks will be closely watched for indications of the Fed’s next moves – whether it’s done with its series of interest rate hikes to curb inflation or if it’s taking a pause or planning more. The central bank has raised rates by 5.25 percentage points since March 2022 to curb inflation. Higher interest rates are typically bearish for gold, so an end or a pause to rate hikes would give precious metals a boost.
Sentiment ahead of Powell’s remarks was mixed, with Fed Bank of Boston President Susan Collins telling Yahoo! Finance that more rate increases may be necessary, while Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker forecast rates would be on hold for the rest of the year on CNBC.
About 80.5% of investors tracked by the CME FedWatch Tool are betting that the Fed will keep its federal funds rate unchanged in September at 5.25% to 5.50%. Just 19.5% expect it to raise rates another 25 basis points.
Comments Friday at Jackson Hole by European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde will also be closely watched for signals on monetary policy.
In economic news, U.S. weekly initial jobless claims fell for a second straight week last week, according to data released Thursday by the Labor Department. The Fed pays close attention to the labor market to determine whether its rate hikes are having a detrimental effect on the economy.
Front-month silver futures lost 0.6% Thursday to settle at $24.58 an ounce on Comex, and the December contract added 6.6% in the first four days of the week. Silver is down 1.6% this month after advancing 8.5% in July and dropping 2.4% in June. It retreated 4.2% in the first half of the year after rising 3% in 2022. The December contract is currently up $0.010 (+0.04%) an ounce to $24.585 and the DG spot price is $24.23.
Spot palladium decreased 3.8% Thursday to $1,252.50 an ounce, and it dropped 1.6% in the first four days of the week. Palladium is down 3.4% this month after rising 3.6% in July and falling 9.5% in June. Palladium plummeted 31% in the first half of the year after losing 5.7% in 2022. Currently, the DG spot price is down $9.10 an ounce to $1250.50.
Spot platinum rose 0.6% Thursday to $946.70 an ounce and advanced 3.1% in the first four days of the week. Platinum is down 1.2% this month after gaining 5.2% in July and falling 9.3% in June. Platinum dropped 15% in the first half of the year after surging 10% in 2022. The DG spot price is currently up $10.00 an ounce to $956.00
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