Gold firms as yields pull back, focus on US economic data

By Harshit Verma

(Reuters) – Gold prices edged higher on Monday, helped by a retreat in the dollar and bond yields, while investors awaited a slew of U.S. economic data this week for more clues on interest rate outlook.

Spot gold rose 0.3% to $1,919.41 per ounce by 1:45 p.m. EDT (1745 GMT). U.S. gold futures settled 0.4% higher at $1,946.80.

The dollar eased against rivals, making gold less expensive for other currency holders. The benchmark 10-year Treasury yields held below their recent peak. [USD/] [US/]

Focus this week will on the U.S. personal consumption expenditures price index report due on Thursday and the August nonfarm payrolls data on Friday for more clarity on the economy’s strength.

“Strong employment, strong jobs numbers and wage numbers imply continued stress on wages and potential inflation, meaning the Federal Reserve is more likely to keep rates at high levels for a prolonged period,” Bart Melek, head of commodity strategies at TD Securities, said.

“Gold could fall back towards the $1,900 if data remains very robust, I think it’s not outside of the realm of possibilities that gold could go to $1,840,” Melek said.

The Fed may need to raise interest rates further to cool still-too-high inflation, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said at an annual gathering in Jackson Hole, Wyoming on Friday.

Higher rates increase bond yields, making non-yielding bullion less attractive.

Investors are pricing in a 56% chance of another hike in 2023, and a 40% chance of the Fed leaving rates unchanged for the rest of the year, the CME FedWatch tool showed.

Highlighting investor sentiment toward bullion, data on Friday showed COMEX gold speculators cut net long positions in the week ended Aug. 22. [CFTC/]

Spot silver was flat at $24.23, holding near Aug. 2 highs. Platinum rose 2.2% to $964.99, while palladium advanced 2.5% to $1,254.89.

(Reporting by Harshit Verma and Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; Editing by Shilpi Majumdar)