Gold steadies near 7-month peak on Fed rate cut bets

By Anushree Ashish Mukherjee

(Reuters) – Gold firmed near its highest in about seven months on Wednesday as expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve may cut interest rates by the first half of next year boosted the outlook for the zero-yield precious metal.

Spot gold was up 0.1% at $2,043.94 per ounce by 3:44 p.m. ET (2044 GMT), after hitting its highest since May 5.

U.S. gold futures settled 0.3% higher at $2,067.1.

“Our belief is that there could be some pullback in gold next week, but in general, we believe this trend of sideways to higher momentum will continue in the near future,” said David Meger, director of metals trading at High Ridge Futures.

“The current belief is that the Fed is done hiking rates and rate cuts will come by 2024, if data supports or undermines that argument, we will see the gold market trade accordingly.”

Lower rates boost demand for non-yielding gold.

Traders are now pricing in a 48% chance of rates easing in March, up from about 35% on Tuesday, CME’s FedWatch Tool showed.

Fed Governor Christopher Waller on Tuesday flagged a possible rate cut in the months ahead.

The dollar index rose 0.1% for the day after dropping to its lowest since Aug. 11. A weaker dollar makes gold cheaper for overseas buyers.

Also helping gold, benchmark 10-year Treasury yields fell, poised to mark their worst month since July 2021. [US/] [USD/]

Investors will monitor the U.S. Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) data on Thursday, the Fed’s preferred inflation indicator, for further insights into the rate outlook.

Beyond near-term economic, interest rate, and geopolitical concerns, U.S. gold investors’ focus is likely to shift towards the state of financial markets, said Ryan McIntyre, senior portfolio manager at Sprott Asset Management.

Silver fell 0.1% to $24.99 per ounce and platinum lost 0.9% to $931.20. Palladium dropped 2.5% to $1,028.39 per ounce.

(Reporting by Anushree Mukherjee and Ashitha Shivaprasad; additional reporting by Sherin Elizabeth Varghese in Bengaluru; Editing by Tomasz Janowski and Shailesh Kuber)