Gold Pares Gains as Traders Weigh US Data, Fed Rate-Hike Path

(Bloomberg) — Gold pared early gains after the latest data pointed to a mixed US economy, while traders await a key speech by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell for clues on monetary tightening.

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The government’s main measures of US growth pointed in different directions in the first half of 2022, underpinning further debate on the health of the economy. Meanwhile, applications for US unemployment insurance fell for the second week, suggesting that employers are holding on to workers despite growing economic uncertainty. The dollar slipped after initially rebounding following the data print, helping bullion stay on track for a third straight daily gain.

Fed officials stressed the need to keep raising interest rates even as they reserved judgment on how big they should go at their meeting next month. Kansas City Fed President Esther George, speaking in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where she hosts the Fed’s annual policy retreat, said the central bank hasn’t yet increased rates to levels that are weighing on the economy and may have to take them above 4% for a time.

Powell’s speech on Friday is hotly anticipated by markets trying to gauge the point at which tightening will slow down amid some signs higher rates are starting to take a toll on the economy.

“The market has already priced in a rather hawkish Powell, so the risk is on the upside for bonds, stocks, and commodities, and downside for the dollar,” said Tai Wong, a senior trader at Heraeus Precious Metals in New York.

Meanwhile, China stepped up its economic stimulus with a further 1 trillion yuan ($146 billion) of measures to bolster growth and curb the fallout of repeated Covid lockdowns and the crisis in the property market. This could potentially aid gold jewelry demand, which has been hurt by the slowdown earlier this year.

Spot gold rose 0.4% to $1,758.55 an ounce as of 1:27 p.m. in New York after earlier climbing as much as 0.8%. Bullion for December delivery gained 0.6% to settle at $1,771.40 on the Comex. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell 0.2%. Spot silver, platinum and palladium advanced.

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