Gold jumped from near a two-week low on Wednesday after U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said interest rates were “just below” neutral, soothing investor worries over the pace of rate hikes.
U.S. gold futures settled up $10.20, or 0.8 percent, at $1,223.60.
“Interest rates are still low by historical standards, and they remain just below the broad range of estimates of the level that would be neutral for the economy — that is, neither speeding up nor slowing down growth,” Powell told the Economic Club of New York.
Spot gold was up 0.7 percent at $1,222.45 per ounce after rising as much as 1 percent to $1,226.24.
“Assuming a hike next month and that 3% is the rate level the Fed wants to get to, then yes they are ‘just below’ where they want to be, at the modeled out ‘neutral rate’,” Peter Boockvar, chief investment officer at Bleakley Advisory Group, said in a note. “I think today’s comments take off the table for now the possibility of them wanting to get above the so called 3% neutral rate (assuming that’s what they think it is).”
Traders believed Powell was signaling there would be fewer rate hikes in 2019, which would theoretically boost the value of gold because it is seen as a hedge against inflation.
The dollar index rose to its highest since Nov 13. The currency has risen for previous three sessions, taking it near its year high of 97.69.
The dollar gained momentum after Fed Vice Chair Richard Clarida on Tuesday backed further interest rate hikes, weighing on non-interest bearing bullion.
“The buzz word (in Powell’s speech) seems to be we are ‘just below’ neutral status regarding rate increases,” said Walter Pehowich, executive vice president of investment services at Dillon Gage Metals.
“So, with a December rate hike and one or two more in 2019 that should be enough to put the Fed where they want to be.”
Higher U.S. interest rates tend to boost the dollar, making gold more expensive for holders of other currencies. Higher rates also increase the opportunity cost of holding gold, which does not pay interest.
Investors will watch for the minutes from the Fed’s Nov. 7-8 meeting, due on Thursday, for clues to policy in 2019. The Fed has raised rates three times this year.
Later this week, U.S. President Donald Trump is likely to meet his Chinese counterpart on the sidelines of the G20 meeting to discuss trade. Bullion has largely lost out to the dollar as a safe haven asset this year as the U.S.-China trade war unfolded while U.S. interest rates rose.
“The market remains very tight. … Potential growth for supply is very limited and demand remains robust even though we’ve seen a decline in auto sales in China and a slowdown in car sales in the U.S.,” said Suki Cooper, precious metals analyst at Standard Chartered Bank.
Read more via: https://www.cnbc.com/2018/11/28/gold-markets-the-fed-dollar-in-focus.html