Gold firms near one-month high with US inflation data on tap

By Swati Verma

(Reuters) – Gold prices firmed near one-month highs on Thursday as a fresh set of soft U.S. data added to expectations that the Federal Reserve will pause rake hikes this year, although inflation readings due later in the day could amend this outlook.

Spot gold was up 0.2% at $1,945.40 per ounce by 0331 GMT. U.S. gold futures steadied at $1,972.40.

Despite this week’s gains, bullion is on track for a monthly decline of nearly 1% as the U.S. dollar eyes its first monthly rise in three and U.S. Treasury yields are poised for their fourth straight monthly climb having reached 2007 levels last week. [USD/] [US/]

“Traders are waiting to see the full news cycle develop a more comprehensive view on inflationary pressures,” said Michael Langford, chief investment officer at Scorpion Minerals.

The Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) and monthly employment numbers will provide direction on U.S. interest rates, Langford added.

Data released so far this week showed that the U.S. economy grew at a slightly less brisk pace than initially thought in the second quarter, while U.S. job openings dropped to the lowest level in nearly 2-1/2 years in July as the labour market gradually slowed.

The Fed can end its interest rate-hiking cycle if the labour market and economic growth continue to slow at the current gradual pace, the former president of the Boston Fed said on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, an official survey showed that manufacturing activity contracted for a fifth straight month in August in top bullion consumer China.

Among other metals, spot silver eased 0.3% to $24.59 per ounce, having climbed to a more than one-month high on Wednesday.

Platinum steadied at $974.13 as it heads for its second consecutive monthly gain. Palladium climbed 0.9% to $1,232.98, but was set for a 4% monthly fall.

(Reporting by Swati Verma in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Subhranshu Sahu)